Civil Disobedience: Activists Block ‘Every Single’ Climate Spy Camera in London Borough

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 25: Protesters gather at Marble Arch and hold up signs criticising
Martin Pope/Getty Images

In a mass act of civil disobedience, activists blocked “every single” camera in the borough of Sutton used to enforce Sadiq Khan’s climate car tax.

The pushback continues against Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) from its previous incarnation covering a relatively small area of central London as an anti-congestion measure to extend to the entirety of the capital, meaning that drivers of vehicles that do not comply with the mayor’s climate standards are charged a base fee of £12.50 per day for driving anywhere in the city, disproportionately impacting working-class commuters.

On Sunday afternoon, around 400 activists protested in the borough of Sutton, an area previously unaffected by the green scheme, whose local council and a resident petition opposed the expansion of ULEZ to cover the area.

The activists dispersed throughout the borough, using signs to block the licence plate cameras used to enforce the tax, which they said, in combination with the actions of ULEZ camera smashing vigilantes — referred to as the ‘Blade Runners’ — meant that “every camera” was useless to the city government. There has also been an emerging trend of citizens “ULEZ fishing”, using fishing poles to plaster stickers onto the lens of cameras throughout the city.

In an interview from Sunday’s protest with The Telegraph, Kingsley Hamilton, a bus driver and member of the campaign group Action Against Unfair Ulez, said: “There are 107 cameras that we are aware of but a lot of them have been deactivated.

“We got at least 80 covered today, so every single camera in the borough is either deactivated or is being covered with a placard today. We’ve put messages out on social media advertising the fact it is only for three hours, so drivers can do what they would normally do – like visit a relative in hospital, without being fined.”

Hamilton’s wife, who also joined the protest, added: “We can’t afford to buy a new car and if my son needs to go to hospital, I’m not going to wait for an ambulance – I’m going to drive him myself.”

In response to the widespread civil disobedience, the mayor’s office has been forced to deploy surveillance vans to enforce the green taxes. Khan has also reportedly hired a “goon squad” of masked men to roam the streets and forcibly, and allegedly violently, prevent the public from disabling the spy cameras.

Khan’s campaign to convince the public of the merits of the climate tax suffered a serious setback last week, as the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that advertisements run on the radio and in newspapers had misled the public on the supposed benefits of ULEZ.

The watchdog ruled that claims from Khan’s government were “misleading” and “unsubstantiated”, including that “one of London’s most polluted spots is inside your car,” “most air pollution deaths occur in Outer London,” and that ULEZ had resulted in “almost a halving of levels of nitrogen dioxide”.

Responding to the determination, Khan’s chief rival in the upcoming London mayoral election in May, Conservative Assembly Member Susan Hall told the Westminster blog Guido Fawkes: “It is shameful that Sadiq Khan has consistently misled Londoners about his ULEZ expansion. It is nothing but a tax grab which only has a negligible effect on air quality.

“We know his staff leant on scientists to change their findings and he is taking hundreds of millions from the poorest Londoners. I will scrap the ULEZ expansion on day one of my Mayoralty, no ifs no buts.”

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