Ulez: Drivers plot extreme ways to avoid being caught on Sadiq Khan’s enforcement cameras

Ulez: Drivers plot extreme ways to avoid being caught on Sadiq Khan’s enforcement  cameras

Watch: GB News' Nigel Farage discusses recent Ulez protests

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 04/04/2024

- 15:20

Updated: 04/04/2024

- 15:26

One seller boasts its 'Leafy Magnet' will prevent customers receiving speeding tickets and hosts reviews admitting to 'f**king with cops' by using the devices

London drivers are planning to skirt around Mayor Sadiq Khan's controversial Ulez scheme by using a novel new technique to intentionally obscure their number plates from enforcement cameras.

Ulez penalises owners of vehicles which don't meet certain environmental standards with a £12.50 daily charge - which has been criticised as unaffordable and unsustainable after being rolled out across the entirety of Greater London in August 2023.

But would-be fare dodgers have identified a way to get around the fines: magnetic leaves.

Drivers can hook up electromagnets under their number plates, which bind the 'leaves' - small metal plates in a green plastic wrap - over one or more letters and numbers, rendering recognition software useless.

Magnetic leaves in use

One site offers a demonstration of how drivers can easily attach and remove the magnetic leaves

Meraki Mart

Sellers have advertised the leaves alongside videos which show customers using small remote controls to toggle the magnets on and off, showcasing just how easy the products are to use.

Despite a disclaimer that its £52 magnetic leaves are "production props" and are "not intended to be used in real world scenarios" on its website, one seller, LeafMate, promotes what appears to be a customer review stating its products have been used to "save over £200 in fees" from toll bridges.

Another review promoted on LeafMate's site says: "I am an automotive photo/videographer and often use leafmate to cover some of my clients' number plates for when we are doing some not-so-safe driving ;)

"It has really come in handy for me and is super easy and quick to install."


Sadiq Khan/Magnetic leaves/Ulez sign

Drivers have planned on using the devices to circumvent Sadiq Khan's Ulez scheme

PA/Meraki Mart/LeafMate

While another vendor, Meraki Mart - which resembles a 'drop-shipping' enterprise, boasts its £33 "Leafy Magnet" "will cover a part of your license plate so you'll never get a speeding ticket in your life" and also hosts reviews admitting to "f**king with cops" by using the leaves.

One of Meraki Mart's reviews says: "Whoever came up with the leafy magnet should get a Nobel Prize lol.

"It is a little bit risky so I use it only when I really need it, I definitely recommend everyone to buy it!"

GB News has approached LeafMate and Meraki Mart for comment.

This isn't the only leaf-based act of protest against the scheme - in a somewhat lower-tech affair last year, a driver taped a real leaf to his number plate, falling foul of Surrey Police's restrictions and attracting a £1,000 fine.

While elsewhere in London, anti-Ulez protesters dressed as Batman have targeted enforcement cameras by installing legally-protected 'bat boxes' to Ulez poles to prevent cameras being installed.

The 2023 expansion of the scheme has led to the rise of the "blade runners" - who have demonstrated in a number of ways against the scheme, not least via the vandalism of cameras with heat guns.

DVLA regulations - the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 - specify that registration plates in the UK must not be obscured or covered in any way - if a plate isobscured or covered, it is considered illegal.

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