Kent alum and honorary doctorate holder, Dr Kush Kanodia has been appointed the Deputy Chair for the Greater London Regional Stakeholder Network – Disabled voices of Greater London.
Dr Kanodia has been has been working with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and for TFL as part of the Disability Unit. He is also on the planning committee for London Health Inequalities & Community Development Network and a trustee for Deaf & Disabled People’s charity, Inclusion London.
Through campaigning in partnership with Inclusion London, Dr Kanodia has succeeded in increasing the grants for non-compliant Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles for disabled people for ULEZ from £5,000 to £10,000.This is in addition to the further reasonable adjustments won in January 2023 for disabled people during the pandemic and cost of living crisis.
The changes to policy translate to:
- Over 1/4 million disabled people are now exempt (DWP Benefits included)
- Expanding grants from £2K to £5K to £10K (wheelchair accessible vehicles)
- Exemptions for carers and an expansion of grace period to 2027.
He says: ‘I am grateful to the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London for listening to some of the concerns from disabled Londoners for ULEZ, but the truth is it has taken them nearly three years to implement these reasonable adjustments and there are still no exemptions for Blue Badge holders. Glasgow has exempted blue badge holders from their Low Emission Zone, so why can’t London for ULEZ? We know many disabled blue badge holders will not be receiving any of DWP benefits that are on the new exemption criteria, and we are still in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
We also know that both Bristol and Birmingham have replicated the original disability discrimination from ULEZ but without any of the further reasonable adjustments that have been won in London in 2023. This highlights the need to now create a national policy in England for all current and future Clean Air Zones with the further reasonable adjustments from London and including the exemptions for Blue Badge holders from Glasgow.
The Government have now launched the Disability Action Plan 2023 to 2024 – GOV.UK in which our campaign for climate adaptations and mitigations for disabled people is included. I would recommend that people complete the Disability Action Plan consultation (Question 4) so that we can create a national policy that mandates these reasonable adjustments for all current and future cities in England that have Clean Air Zones.
On Tuesday the 29th of August ULEZ expands to Greater London and next week on Monday the 21st of August the scrappage scheme opens to every Londoner. Currently, only 6% of funds for the scrappage scheme have been committed under ‘disability’; I have requested a 20% ringfence of funds for ‘disability’ from the Greater London Authority (GLA).
The GLA are currently reviewing this request but have not confirmed the ringfence. Disabled people in London with non-compliant ULEZ vehicles now have just a one-week window of opportunity left, before the scrappage scheme’s £160 million funding goes to a first come first served for every Londoner from the 21st of August.
Disabled people have already been the most disproportionately impacted from austerity, the 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 in our society.’