Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2024

ULEZ vigilantes thwarted as TfL removes bat boxes put up to stop camera repairs | UK | News

Anti-ULEZ vigilantes have been thwarted as bat boxes they put up to slow down camera repairs are removed.

Videos posted on social media showed London activists dressed as Batman climbing ULEZ camera poles to place wooden bat homes.

This is being done in order to slow down the installation and repair of cameras used to enforce the £12.50 daily fee to drive non-compliant vehicles.

So-called ‘Blade Runners’ have vandalised and removed a number of cameras since Sadiq Khan expanded the scheme in August.

Others who oppose the Mayor of London‘s policy have taken to blocking cameras’ vision by standing or parking in front of them.

Bat boxes are a newer approach and have reportedly been installed on camera poles in a number of locations across London, including in Clayton Road in Chessington, North Cheam and Havering.

The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) says that bats ‘need time’ to find and explore new homes, and it may be ‘several months or even years’ before boxes have residents.

An anti-ULEZ activist familiar with the tactic told MyLondon: “I’ve had reports today that the bat box in Havering has been taken down, along with some in Barking and Dagenham apparently. The Chessington bat boxes are still up.

“Various other locations are presumed unaffected so far. I wonder if TfL are responsible and if so who they got to remove them and if they were fully licensed to do so and fulfilled all the correct criteria and followed procedure or how they’re planning to deal with the matter going forward?”

Now, TfL is removing the shelters with help from experts, in accordance with legislation. A spokesperson for the authority said: “We are working with environmental specialists to safely and legally remove these boxes.”

It is understood that the boxes will be offered to a local animal charity. It comes after the authority denied that it or its contractors ripped down warnings attached to poles with the boxes by protesters in an ‘unmarked van’.

Officials add that it is ensuring its activities at the bat box sites comply with relevant legislation. The mayor claimed that he was not aware of the tactic as he has been ‘busy campaigning’.

He said that the ULEZ expansion was the ‘right thing to do’ as breathing clean air is a right. “If people want to object and oppose”, Mr Khan added, “that’s fine, but do it in a way that’s lawful, peaceful and safe. Don’t break the law.”

There are more than 3,700 cameras in place across the London-wide ULEZ. Officials have highlighted that it is an offence to place apparatus on TfL’s infrastructure without the authority’s consent.

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