Concern as Jewish areas in north London to be caught by emissions charges
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Concern as Jewish areas in north London to be caught by emissions charges

Local political group says the planned London pollution tax extension would hit Jewish families hard

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) sign in London
Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) sign in London

Concerns were expressed this week that Sadiq Khan’s extension to the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in north-west London would impact areas with large Jewish communities such as Finchley, Edgware, and Hendon.

The ULEZ tariff on vehicles already covers Golders Green, which has a famously large Jewish population, but Barnet Conservatives are among the groups now questioning the proportionality of the scheme’s expansion into areas with less pollution.

“Barnet’s air quality is good, nitrogen dioxide levels are well within national limits, and air pollution is falling,” said Cllr Dan Thomas. “We can always make improvements, but we don’t need drastic measures that will cost more to drive to work. Barnet Conservatives are opposed to ULEZ expansion and pay-per-mile.”

A Jewish communal figure closely connected to discussions said the proposed ULEZ expansion “would impact all other Jewish community hubs in north-west London”, adding further to financial pressures, given that the price of cars increased throughout the pandemic.

They said that while there may be some assistance in a scrappage scheme, “the scheme from the previous expansion ran out of cash”.

A spokesman from Barnet Conservatives said there was a further problem in that the charges “create particular difficulty for those with large families, such as many in the Orthodox Jewish community, who have large cars that may not be ULEZ compliant”.

They said: “Even if a scrappage scheme is introduced on the same terms as it has been previously, a family replacing a large car could find themselves significantly out of pocket on this large expenditure or be forced to pay a significant daily charge.

“At a time when families and businesses are struggling with the cost of living, these proposals could put many in financial difficulty.”

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