London Mayor Approves Dr Kush Kanodia’s Campaign for Concessions

Former KBS Student campaigned for two years for reasonable adjustments to the ULEZ plans for disabled people.

Former KBS student and honorary doctorate holder, Dr Kush Kanodia has won a campaign for concessions from London’s mayor after they warned that plans to widen the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital would discriminate against disabled people.

ULEZ was introduced in 2019 and expanded to inner London last year. From the 29 August 2023, it will be expanded to Greater London. Under the scheme, a daily £12.50 charge is levied on older, more polluting vehicles.

The mayor has previously announced an exemption from ULEZ charges for those with blue badges until October 2027, but only to those with a vehicle tax exemption – mostly people with the enhanced rate mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).

Following campaigning by Kush and other disabled rights campaigners, the mayor has announced that the exemption will be allowed for all those who receive the standard and enhanced rate of the PIP mobility component, the higher mobility rate of disability living allowance, and some other disability benefits, as well as all those with wheelchair-accessible vehicles and some vehicles with other adaptations.  The exemption will begin on 30 January 2023 and end on 24 October 2027.

Kush Kanodia at Rochester Cathedral collecting honorary doctorate
Kush Kanodia, who received an honorary doctorate at Kent, this year.

Kush said of the news: “I am delighted and welcome these changes from the Mayor of London and Transport for London. These changes will help 280,000 disabled people to access critical health and care, goods and services during the pandemic and cost of living crisis

“I started this campaign for reasonable adjustments for disabled Londoners from ULEZ for the last 2 years now. If these changes were implemented last year, however, it would have prevented the disability discrimination and the risk of financial hardship, for hundreds of thousands of disabled Londoners in a pandemic and cost of living crisis.

“Blue badges are accepted for TfL’s exemptions for the Congestion Charging Zone in London and this must also now be the case for ULEZ. There are approximately 1/4 million blue badge holders in London and many will not receive any of the benefits on the new exemption criteria list. We also recommend that the full cost of any adaptations is covered for any scrapped non-compliant and adapted vehicles for ULEZ.

“Unfortunately, many cities in England have now replicated the disability discrimination from the existing ULEZ, for new clean air zones from Birmingham, Bath, Bradford, Portsmouth, to future cities in Bristol, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester. I believe it is time now for the national government to create a standardised policy for the UK, for all current and future low and clean emission zones with adequate reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

“Disabled people have already been the most disproportionately impacted from austerity, pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis. Climate action must go hand in hand with climate justice and social justice, to prevent further increases in poverty and inequality.

“The social model of disability is a tool for the emancipation of disabled people and embedding the disability mantra ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’, we can build a society that is fairer, more inclusive and accessible for us all.”

The mayor has also announced a £110 million car scrappage scheme – which will open on 30 January 2023 – to support disabled Londoners, Londoners on lower incomes, charities, small businesses and sole traders.

Read more about Kush’s life as a Kent student and social entrepreneur here.


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