Handyman whose business faces hit from Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion protests by walking around London with registration plate on his back to confuse cameras
- Engin Coban says the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone will hit him hard
- The 48-year-old’s home in Catford is currently half a mile outside the limit
A handyman whose business is set to be hit by Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion has launched a walking protest by carrying a registration plate on his back to confuse cameras.
Engin Coban lives half a mile outside the current border for the Ultra Low Emission Zone and already has to pay £12.50 a day for his three non-compliant vehicles to travel into London.
The 48-year-old says he can’t escape this as most of his work as a handyman is in Central London, although the introduction of the charge forced him to take jobs closer to home to avoid paying it.
But now he says the proposed expansion of the scheme would mean he could not do his job at all without paying the fee and he cannot afford to buy a new ULEZ-compliant van, which would set him back more than £12,000.
Mr Coban, who has lived in Catford for 38 years and been a handyman for 16 years, has started his own ‘peaceful protest’ by walking around with his registration plate strapped to his back to deliberately trip the cameras and cause a headache for those implementing the fines.
Engin Coban, who works as a handyman, says the proposed ULEZ expansion will hit his business hard
The 48-year-old has started a ‘peaceful protest’ against the ULEZ plans by walking past cameras while carrying a registration plate on his back
He told My London he had been doing this since March 2, with the goal of causing more work for TfL by triggering a fine which would then have to be rescinded on review, although he has’t received any yet.
He said: ‘Why make their [those working on ULEZ] lives easy when they are making my life hard?’
‘I’ve seen people talk about smashing the ULEZ cameras but I don’t want to do anything illegal. But these changes are destroying my livelihood so I thought let me make their lives a little harder.
‘I’m assuming a computer recognises the number plate now but imagine if thousands of people joined in and overwhelmed the system and did the same thing I did.’
He added that none of his three current vehicles – a van, a car and a motorbike – are compliant with the ULEZ, and he can’t afford to spend £12,500 on a new van, while the cost of second hand cars that are compliant has gone up to.
Mr Coban said: ‘I live 100 metres from the current ULEZ border, when the current border was put in place I had to completely change my business approach. I used to work about 90 per cent of the time in Central London.
‘I changed that when the ULEZ border came in previously, deciding to work on jobs closer to my local area. I charge £40 an hour, after £12.50 being taken for a ULEZ charge and then congestion charges, I’d be working for free.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which currently covers Central London, is set to be expanded
The controversial plan has been brought in by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (pictured)
‘But now, the new border will include my local area, what do I do now? Move out of London? Leave a customer base that I have built up over 16 years because I don’t want to pay £12.50?’
The frustrated businessman said he faces the unenviable prospect of having to pass the cost of the ‘fake tax’ onto his customers, despite not putting his prices up in 16 years.
He said: ‘I’m struggling, I’m an honest person, I try and do the best I can. Everyone’s costs are going up and if I put my prices up I feel like I’m moving the problem along and I’m being part of the problem. That’s not helping anyone.’
‘ULEZ is a fake tax, it’s not about pollution but about money, in my ideal world ULEZ would be scrapped completely.’
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to toxic air, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in London’s outer boroughs.
‘Expanding ULEZ to outer London will help five million more Londoners to breathe cleaner air, and improve Londoners’ health.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk