Man who owns 9 cars complains Ulez expansion plans 'will cost him £80,000'

A man who owns nine cars claims the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion could cost him £80,000 to replace some of them. 

Chris Penfold, 50, has owned Deen’s Garage bike shop in Beckenham, Bromley, since 1999 but often repairs and races cars in his spare time. 

This means he’s ended up with quite the collection of motors. 

He’s now concerned he may have to spend thousands to make his vehicles Ulez compliant ahead of the proposed expansion in August 2023. 

Chris told the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): ‘Because I’m able to fix stuff, I tend to end up attracting free cars. 

‘My uncle had his catalytic converter stolen off his car so he was going to scrap it because the car was old, so I repaired it… I’ve got nine at the minute, but I’ll compete [in races] in four of them, one of them is my wife’s car, and one of them’s a work car. 

‘But out of that, six are non compliant [to Ulez regulations].’

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Plans for the zone to be expanded across all London boroughs from August 29 have already attracted a lot of criticism.

Vehicles that aren’t Ulez compliant will have to pay a £12.50 daily fee, which typically affects older cars.

Chris said he and his family use up to three of the vehicles per day, both for the bike shop and other hobbies such as horse riding or racing.

But the cost of upgrading these three is around £80,000. 

‘I respect the fact that they want lower emissions, but why should you be able to pay a tax to still poison people? Why are you paying money for that to happen?’ he added.

‘You should either have it and not pay or ban it, not be able to pay to use it. It’s basically saying that people are getting really ill and dying and they’ve got a poor quality of life, but if you give us £12.50 it’s actually acceptable.’

While the bike shop owner agrees with the idea of restricting car use in central London, he doesn’t see the need for Ulez in Bromley. 

‘It’s pretty endless, the chaos it’s going to cause and the discomfort for no great effect on the air because the air is all right anyway,’ Chris said.

Bromley Council announced on February 16 that it would be legally challenging the mayor’s plans along with Bexley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey’s councils.

Conservative councillor Colin Smith, leader of Bromley Council, said in a statement: ‘We have been sounding the alarm about Mayor Khan’s attempted tax raid on the outer “London” suburbs for many months now. The fundamental truth as to his true intention is now increasingly plain for all to see.

‘In Bromley, this socially regressive tax directly threatens jobs, the viability and availability of small businesses, and causing significant damage to vital care networks, as well as creating a completely avoidable spike in the cost of living locally, at a time when some households are already struggling to make ends meet.’

A spokesperson for the mayor of London pointed out at the time around 85% of vehicles in outer London are already Ulez compliant.

They said: ‘For those with the most polluting vehicles, the Mayor has launched his £110 million vehicle scrappage scheme – the largest scheme ever launched by any city in the UK – to help low-income Londoners, disabled Londoners and small businesses and charities to replace their old, polluting vehicles.

‘The Mayor is also calling on the government to provide additional scrappage funding to London and the surrounding areas. The government has provided millions of pounds for scrappage schemes in other parts of the country, but not given a single penny to London.’

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