*Cleanzine-logo-8a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 11th July 2024 Issue no. 1122

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As someone who was brought up to abide by the law of the land and to respect authority, I’ve been at odds with myself somewhat recently, over my reaction to the reports and pictures of so many surveillance cameras and road barriers being disabled around the UK, by angry citizens. I can’t help feeling that those involved aren’t career criminals or vandals as such, but ordinary people like me, who are becoming ever angrier over the growing numbers of seemingly unnecessary driving restriction schemes that are damaging our lives, our ability to work and our businesses. Yes I’m talking about cameras and road blocking barriers set up as part of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) along with those in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, which are being vandalised and in some cases removed. Folk are refusing to pay fines, others are covering their licence plates and some are even walking through restricted roads wearing licence plates strung around their bodies – no doubt to confuse the cameras and cause disruption to the system. I had to chuckle at the police comment: "Masked vandals are difficult to detect and charge," but can’t help thinking that the police, too, can see that these systems are so ill-advised that they’re going to lead to greater civil unrest. 
As you may imagine, I was happy to learn this week that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is facing a High Court battle to prove his plans to extend the ULEZ zone to all of Greater London in August are lawful. I hope to goodness that he loses. As someone who’s living just outside greater London and who regularly has to cross into the Zone while going about my business, I can see the damage this extension will do to local people and businesses who simple cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles to comply with emission standards and as a result face paying a daily fine of £12.50. 
The Mayor claims he’s averting a ‘health emergency’ by reducing toxic air caused by traffic, yet his schemes, in my view, add to pollution by creating bottlenecks of slow-moving traffic elsewhere. His miles upon miles of 20mph zones also cause jams and increase pollution (and frustration!) not only because journeys are taking longer and we’re forced to drive further, but also because car engines and gear boxes are often forced to labour in these circumstances. Plus, however good public transport may become, people can’t take heavy or cumbersome items such as cleaning equipment on a bus or train, can they? There’s a protest against ULEZ and LTNs in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday at midday. I can’t help but feel I ought to go along…


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Jan Hobbs

13th April 2023

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