Londoners have launched a war against the surveillance cameras being installed to monitor Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion in the city by covering the cameras with cardboard boxes and shopping bags, and plastic bags.
The aim of the ULEZ scheme is to reduce air pollution in the city but comes with invasive surveillance of vehicles. Drivers with vehicles that do not meet the minimum emission requirements would be charged £12.50 ($15.42) daily just for using ultra-low emission zones.
Critics have argued that the expansion of ULEZ would affect low-income households as it covers most of the neighborhoods within the M25, the highway that circles most of Greater London.
Others have raised privacy concerns after it was revealed that the British Transport Police and the London Metropolitan Police would have access to the cameras.
300 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), referred to as Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) in America, cameras have recently been installed in the city. 2,750 more will be added before the ULEZ expansion deadline of August 29, 2023.
In some parts of the city, people have protested the expansion of the scheme by cutting wires to the cameras and painting the lenses with black paint. In other parts, the cameras were ripped out and thrown to the ground.
Since February, Londoners have been taking to the streets to call for a halt to the expansion of ULEZ, with some calling for the resignation of Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The mayor has championed other eco-friendly measures like Lower Traffic Neighborhoods (LTNs), which ban vehicles from using backroads. Miles of bicycle lanes have also been added throughout the city.
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Author: Ken Macon
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