London Blade Runners Are Targeting Government Surveillance Vans

Estimated read time 3 min read

They aren’t bowing to the emissions zone enforcement push.

As we’ve covered before, activists known as Blade Runners have been fighting against the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) cameras which have expanded into every borough on London, UK recently. In response to the sabotage, outright vandalism, and even theft of the cameras, Mayor Sadiq Khan has deployed a fleet of vans with cameras mounted to their roof. In response, the Blade Runners have been vandalizing those vans.

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Instead of stealing the vans like they’ve done with some of the ULEZ cameras mounted to poles, the Blade Runners have been using spray paint to cover the camera lenses and windshields. Some have used stickers or bags to cover the cameras, while other activists slash the tires to add to the government’s expense.

Photos of the Blade Runners’ handiwork are all over social media. Some feature the camera vans being loaded onto wreckers and hauled away. Such signs are celebrated as victories, although some believe they’re small.

Certain savvy Londoners have been sharing the location of where camera vans are parked. Not only are the fleets apparently kept behind fences, it seems the city has decided to cover each van with a tarp as if they’re trying to hid the vans’ presence. Considering not many people put covers over commercial vehicles, it’s not fooling anyone.

A Transport for London spokesman was quoted by ITV News London as saying the following about the Blade Runners’ activities: “Vandalism is unacceptable and all incidents on our network are reported to the police for investigation. Criminal damage to Ulez cameras or vehicles puts the perpetrators at risk of prosecution and injury, while simultaneously risking the safety of the public. Camera vandalism will not stop the Ulez operating London-wide and all vandalized cameras are repaired or replaced as soon as possible.”

Others are taking a more peaceful approach to the vans, creating social media groups dedicated to reporting to others where the government vehicles are located each day.

The ULEZ involves plate-reading cameras which help to levy a daily fine against anyone driving a vehicle older than model year 2006 on public roads in London. At first, the program only covered a portion of the UK’s largest city, but it’s been expanded into all the boroughs recently. While the purposely ostensibly is to curb global warming, many are pointing out it’s truly affecting more than anyone the poor who can’t afford a newer vehicle.

Classic car owners are also put in a pinch. While the £12.50 daily fee might not sound like much up front, that adds up quickly. Critics have been pointing out that if this program is accepted without a fight, even more restrictions will likely be coming in the near future.

Images via Twitter

Steven Symes https://writerstevensymes.com/

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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