Woman whose son, 6, nearly died of asthma attack says Ulez expansion is needed

A London woman whose young son was told by a doctor to ‘avoid busy roads’ due to air pollution thinks Ulez is ‘urgent’.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) is set to expand across all London boroughs on August 29. 

The upcoming £12.50 daily charge for driving vehicles which do not meet emission standards – mostly older cars – is to try and tackle air quality levels in the city.

While there has been mixed reaction from members of the public, some believe the move is vital. 

Ruth Fitzharris, 40, from Haringey, believes her son’s asthma is a result of ‘trapped’ pollution in the city. 

The six-year-old’s asthma is believed to have started in 2018, during the heatwave.

When Ruth took her son to the GP, she was told he should ‘avoid busy roads’ in order to prevent an asthma attack. 

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Ruth told MyLondon: ‘We were told by a consultant at our local hospital to avoid busy roads – that was the moment I thought, okay, there’s a real problem here with air pollution. 

‘If we are going out, I’ll try and avoid sitting with him at a bus stop of a busy junction, where we’re going to be potentially submerged for 10 minutes breathing in fumes. I’m not saying air pollution causes every asthma attack that he has, but it is proven that air pollution exacerbates that.’

She is glad to see the implementation of Ulez: ‘It’s a public health crisis. It needs to be tackled urgently. There’s premature deaths every year because of pollution.’

Mr Khan previously said air pollution is making Londoners ‘sick from cradle to the grave’, with illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.

He described the ULEZ as ‘transformational’ and claimed extending it will mean ‘five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives’.

While the plans are expected to go ahead, there are some councils and residents staunchly opposed.

There are six London councils who’ve spoken against potential changes – Harrow, Hillingdon, Havering, Bexley, Bromley and Croydon.

Last month, an anti-Ulez message was projected on the front of Costco in Croydon, southwest London, by a local businessman. 

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