London driver's clever trick to frustrate Sadiq Khan over Ulez tax

Sadiq Khan visits his primary school

Sadiq Khan will extend the Ulez zone from August to cover the whole on the capital

George McMillan

By George McMillan

Published: 14/03/2023

- 11:58

Sadiq Khan will expand his Ulez zone from August, with tradesmen claiming it could destroy their businesses

A driver has come up with an ingenious way to frustrate Sadiq Khan in a protest over the expansion of Ulez.

Engin Coban lives in Catford, south London, and says the changes the Mayor of London is making are “destroying” his livelihood.

Khan’s Ulez charge applies to old and diesel vehicles and makes them pay £12.50 every time they use the car.

He announced earlier this year that the zone would be expanded, meaning 200,000 more drivers a day being forced to pay the £12.50 vehicle emissions levy.

A picture of a sign notifying motorists they are in the Ulez zone

Engin Coban said that Ulez was destroying his business and threatening his livelihood.


In protest, Coban has been walking around with his car’s numberplate attached to his back.

The 48-year-old business owner’s vehicles currently all qualify for the levy, meaning when the changes come in he could see his company take a massive hit through the charge.

By walking around inside the Ulez zone with the numberplate strapped to his back, Coban says it will be picked up by cameras and trigger a fine which upon review will have to be repealed.

He hopes to make staff working on the Ulez’s jobs harder through the protest.

Cars queueing on the motorway

Drivers of vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are charged a £12.50 daily fee.


“Why make their [those working on Ulez] lives easy when they are making my life hard?" he told MyLondon.

"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."

Sadiq Khan speaking at the London Assembly

Sadiq Khan has been heavily criticised for his decision to expand the Ulez zone.


He said the new expansion will have a profound impact on his business, continuing: “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.

"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?"

Engin said it could cost him more than £12,000 to purchase a vehicle that would not receive the levy.

He is yet to receive any charges for his protest so far.

The Ulez is currently used in London’s North and South Circular roads, it is due to be extended to cover the whole of the capital from August 29.

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