The mother of a nine-year-old girl who became the first person recorded to die from air pollution says she supports the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Scheme (ULEZ), which expanded to all of Greater London on Tuesday.
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, whose daughter Ella died from air pollution exposure from living on the South Circular in Lewisham in 2013, joined Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at an event at St Laurence church in Catford on the day of the ULEZ expansion.
Ms Adoo-Kissi-Debrah said: “Ten and a half years after my daughter Ella died, ULEZ is rolling out across London.
“For the last 28 months of her life Ella suffered horrendously. Her KC Richard Herman equated it to torture.
“That is why it is crucial that the experts in Ella’s second inquest are listened to and ULEZ is implemented London-wide, so no child will ever suffer and die like she had to, due to illegal levels of pollution on the South Circular.”
People who drive in the zone in a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards are now required to pay a £12.50 daily fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.
But the expansion of the zone has not been smooth, as four council’s – including Bromley and Bexley -brought a judicial case against City Hall’s ULEZ plans, only for it to be ruled legal.
Protesters against the new zone have repeatedly taken to central London and Tooting Broadway to vocalise their concerns, while some vandals have gone about destroying the newly installed ULEZ cameras on the boundaries of Greater London.
Even Ms Adoo-Kissi-Debrah said she was “concerned” about the impact of ULEZ on lower-income households.
She said “individual things need to be looked at” and that it is “not right” that late-shift care workers on lower wages may have to pay ULEZ twice.
Asked about concerns over costs, Ms Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, said: “No matter what scheme you bring in, there will always be people adversely affected, we need to limit it as much as possible.
“Unfortunately, it does cost to clean up the air and this isn’t a party political thing, we need the Government to contribute because the more money there is in the scrappage scheme, you can bring more people in.
“Of course I’m concerned because we don’t want the poorest to be impacted, but to speak to those people who are incredibly poor, who don’t even own a car, who are on the main roads waiting for buses, I hope in time, they will have cleaner air as well because they don’t even own a car and yet they are adversely impacted.”
City Hall has put up a £160million scrappage fund for Londoners whose cars do not meet the ULEZ minimum emissions standards.
All Londoners with non-compliant cars can now get £2,000 for scrapping a car or £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle.
Small businesses and charities can now receive increased grant payments of between £6,000 and £11,500.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is a landmark day for our city which will lead to a greener, healthier London for everyone.
“The decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide was a difficult one, but necessary to save lives, protect children’s lungs and help prevent asthma, dementia and other health issues.”
Pictured top: From left, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah at an event at St Laurence church in Catford on the day of the UL:EZ expansion (Picture: PA)
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