Sadiq Khan has said Londoners had to be ‘educated’ into supporting policies to tackle air pollution like ULEZ.
The Mayor is in New York for the UN Climate Ambition Summit – a decision that has attracted criticism due to the 41,412 air miles he and his team will rack up.
At an event on Sunday, the Labour politician said he had faced hostility ‘from a vocal minority drowning out a silent majority’ on London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).
‘In London, we spent some time educating people about the consequences of air pollution that are linked to climate change,’ he said.
‘Once they were aware it wasn’t just an environmental but also a health crisis, we had permission to bring in bold policies.’
Sadiq Khan made the comments about ULEZ at an event yesterday. He is is London for the UN Climate Ambition Summit
Mr Khan at an event in New York promoting business opportunities in London
The Mayor has been criticised for deciding to fly out to New York for a climate change summit
Mr Khan said it was important ‘to take people with you’ on climate policy – a claim that will irritate the thousands of London motorists who are bitterly opposed to ULEZ.
He decided to fly to New York despite repeatedly saying he wants to clean up the air, and analysis shows his latest trip has sent the number of air miles clocked up by him and his team to 430,000.
Susan Hall told the BBC: ‘While Sadiq Khan enjoys the perks, swanning off to America to lecture everyone about his Ulez (Ultra Low Emission Zone) tax, Londoners are paying the price.
‘The poorest have been hit hardest by his disastrous Ulez expansion, facing debts or a £12.50 daily charge.’
Mr Khan, who is in New York as part of his role as the chair of C40 – a network of mayors from 100 global cities – suggested politicians needed to be ‘better storytellers’.
‘If we get things wrong, if we have policies that are unpopular, we’ll be voted out,’ he said.
Mr Khan, who will attend the UN Climate Ambition Summit tomorrow, referred to a City Hall study which found ULEZ had reduced toxic air by nearly half in the centre of London and a further 20 per cent in inner London.
He appeared on several morning TV shows this morning.
On ABC TV’s Good Morning America, he spoke about walking through New York to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
The Mayor was asked by co-host Eva Pilgrim: ‘I have to ask you… You are walking around New York City, to not have to get stuck in the traffic? It’s raining outside today. How is that going for you?’
Mr Khan joked that the walks were boosting his step count, saying: ‘I have done 4,600 steps so far.’
In London the Mayor is driven around in a taxpayer-funded luxury 2020 Range Rover.
In Hillingdon, protesters covered a camera with expanding foam in a protest to the expansion of Sadiq Khan’s unpopular Ulez charge
One protester scaled the ladder blocking the camera that sat on top of a Transport for London van on Rainham Road in east London , trying to stop cars to pass and avoid the ULEZ charge.
In Ickenham, in the borough of Hillingdon, vigilante vandals sprayed foam used for sealing cracks and insulating lofts over two cameras, blocking it from catching drivers out
Mr Khan sought to sell his ULEZ scheme at another event this morning, calling it the ‘best ever two-for-one offer’ which tackled both air pollution and global warming.
He added: ‘If you deal with one, you deal with the other’.
But Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey rejected the suggestion that ULEZ had been a success, telling BBC London: ‘The problem with the mayor’s plan is that it does nothing for climate change, and is actually very poor on air pollution, but is costing people a fortune.’
Labour’s by-election defeat in Uxbridge has been widely blamed on ULEZ – even by the party’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer.
Vandals were out in force once again yesterday, with one camera being covered in expanding foam while elsewhere a man held a anti-ULEZ sign on top of ladder trying to block a camera’s view.
Locals rallied around the man, with one writing on Facebook: ‘Let’s hear it for the lad sitting on the ladders blocking the Ulez camera on Rainham Road. This made my morning power to the people.’Elsewhere in Ickenham, in the borough of Hillingdon, vigilante vandals sprayed foam used for sealing cracks and insulating lofts over two cameras, blocking it from catching drivers out.
Local resistance against the unpopular policy, that hopes to improve air quality and reduce pollution in the capital, has been growing since the expansion was announced.
Some online have supported the most recent vandalism. One person wrote: ‘These people deserve to be on the news for their good work well done. FAB-U-LOUS!’
Someone else on the group chimed in saying ‘Quality effort from a quality guy! Thank you.’
Last week, a group of supercar protesters took the streets of central London to challenge the London’s mayor’s expanded scheme
Another lamented that they weren’t able to do this themselves: ‘I wish I had the time to do this also.’ In one comment he was hailed as a hero with the writer saying: ‘Not all heroes wear capes.’
On one occasion, a camera appeared to be targeted by an arsonist, with a photo shared online appearing to show the black box filled with what appeared to be powder from an extinguisher.
Meanwhile, other cameras have been wrapped up in orange tape or covered in cardboard boxes, with the words ‘NO ULEZ’ scrawled over it.
In one part of southeast London, nine out of ten of the Ulez cameras have been vandalised according to crowd-sourced data. Only 29 of the 185 cameras that have been installed in Sydenham are working.
The expansion of the ULEZ has received opposition from campaigners who have claimed the £12.50 charge is a tax on the poor and working class who cannot afford to pay the charge or replace their older cars.
One social media post showed a van being towed away on a recovery truck
Anti-Ulez campaigners have turned their fire on mobile camera vans trying to enforce the rules, by letting down the tyres and
Last week, a group of supercar protesters took the streets of central London to challenge the London’s mayor’s expanded scheme.
The motorcade was led by Petrolheadonism Club founder Ciro Ciampi from Milton Keynes who brought modified, classic vehicles and supercars to parade along Whitehall.
The long line of cars passed from Regents Park to Downing Street in a bid show the perceived hypocrisy that some of their ‘supercharged monster’ cars do not have to pay the charge.
The event – one of many Ulez protests in the capital in recent months – was filmed by motoring journalist Shahzad Sheikh, who calls himself the ‘Brown Car Guy’.
Mr Ciampi told Mr Sheikh: ‘We’ve got to celebrate this moment. For people that are here protesting, wow, amazing, because they’ve been affected big time because they live within the M25. It’s just absolutely stupid that it’s been extended.
‘I’ve got a big event in Wembley, it’s going to affect my event next year. For me I’ve got a couple of cars that are not Ulez compliant and I’ve got to pay £12.50 if I come into London for my meetings and stuff like that.
‘But then I’ve got a V12 in the garage or my mate’s got this eight-litre V8 supercharged monster that is Ulez free. It’s not about clean air.
The Ulez zone expanded to include all of Greater London at the end of last month
Anti-Ulez campaigners, known as the Blade Runners, claim to have disconnected or destroyed at least 500 of the 2,700 static cameras
A string of anti-Ulez protests to have taken place in the capital over the last few months. Pictured: People protest against Ulez in Tooting, London, last month
‘It’s absolutely somebody being a narcissist, jumped up, bloody-minded egotistical, arrogant mayor that just won’t listen to anybody.’
Mr Stephens, whose car is Ulez compliant, said: ‘It is saying ‘you are OK to drive your polluting car if you give me £12.50’.
‘It is all about money, otherwise they would ban petrol and polluting cars.’
There has also been an increase in the so-called ULEZ ‘blade runners’ with images posted on social media showing some of the TfL vans, with cameras in place, being covered in graffiti.
On other occasions, tyres have been deflated or the vehicle’s cameras have been covered in bags.
Meanwhile, more than 4,000 people on Facebook have joined a group which encourages people to report sightings of vans.
Out of 2,700 cameras appeared to be marked as out of action, missing or damaged, according to a map generated by Facebook group ‘Ulez Camera Locations’.
In relation to this rise in ULEZ camera vandalism, a spokesperson for TFL has previously said ‘Vandalism on our network is unacceptable and all incidents are reported to the police for investigation.
‘We have increased the security of the ULEZ cameras following further incidences of vandalism and theft. The Met has been clear that this is vandalism of government property and is a criminal offence which could lead to prosecution.’
MailOnline contacted TfL and the London Mayor’s Office.