One in three Londoners support the vandalism of ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) cameras, a new poll has suggested.
The survey of 1,000 Londoners by YouGov found that around 32 per cent of people supported attacks on the cameras by Ulez protesters, while 51 per cent were against. The remaining 17 per cent didn’t have a view.
The poll, which was carried out earlier this month, comes as Ulez cameras across London have been hit by a spate of attacks as Sadiq Khan launched the expansion of the zone across all of London.
The expansion, which came in on Tuesday, now means the zone stretches across all 32 London boroughs, with drivers of cars which don’t comply with certain emissions standards having to pay a £12.50 daily charge.
Ahead of the launch there were several reports of attacks on cameras, including one road in Bromley which saw 14 out of the 16 cameras in a half-mile stretch taken out.
Elsewhere, in Harefield, Hillingdon, the pole for a camera had been cut down with what appeared to be an angle grinder, while a camera in Chessington, in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, was pictured with its lens painted white.
According to the poll, which was conducted between Aug 9-14, 51 per cent of those against the Ulez expansion supported the vandalism of cameras, while 36 per cent of those who were anti-Ulez believed vandals shouldn’t target the cameras.
Of those in support of Ulez expansion, 68 per cent were against vandalism of cameras, while 22 per cent were supportive.
The YouGov poll found that across London 47 per cent of Londoners were in support of Ulez expansion, with 42 per cent against the move by the mayor.
This changed dramatically when polling people in outer London, where 51 per cent opposed Ulez expansion and 38 per cent supported it. In inner London, 62 per cent were supportive, while 26 per cent were critical.
However, despite support in some corners, exactly half of the respondents believed that Sadiq Khan could be doing more to support people switching to compliant vehicles, against 25 per cent who believed he was doing all he could.
The controversial expansion of the Ulez zone has been met with widespread opposition from politicians and people living in outer London. On Tuesday, Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, urged the mayor to give drivers a grace period before issuing fines after there were issues on the first day of the Ulez roll-out.
This came after there were protests outside of Westminster from anti-Ulez groups in which they were seen holding placards with messages such as “Stop the toxic air lie”, along with mocked-up car registration plates reading: “Get Khan out”
Earlier this month, the mayor was forced to expand his Ulez scrappage scheme, which provides financial support for those trying to trade in their old non-compliant vehicles.
Under the expanded scheme all Londoners are able to secure £2,000 on a first come, first served basis.
Grants for businesses and charities have also been made more generous, with small businesses now able to access £7,000 to scrap their vehicles – up from £5,000.
Matt Smith, YouGov’s Head of Data Journalism, said: “Ulez has been a political hot potato since last month’s Uxbridge by-election, and our survey shows that the recent expansion of the policy to cover all of London is divisive among those living in the capital.
“It is notable, however, that the expansion is opposed in outer London – where the changes are actually taking place, and where people are more likely to own cars.
“Resistance to Ulez is so great that some in London have taken to vandalising Ulez cameras, actions which are supported by many who told us that they oppose the Ulez expansion.
“While such actions are easier to say you support when considered in the abstract of answering a survey, not least given no-one comes to physical harm, it does nevertheless demonstrate the strength of feeling among those opposed to the Ulez changes.”