A wheelchair-user has hit out at plans to expand London's ultra low emissions zone (Ulez) claiming it has “nothing to do with clean air”.

Peter Smorthit, 31, from Highbury, says disabled people will be hit hard by the expansion to the capital’s outer boroughs later this month, describing it as a “tax on movement” - a money grab.

The ULEZ already covers Islington as it is inside the North Circular Road. London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the expansion across the whole of Greater London, due to come into effect on August 29, is a "difficult decision" but is necessary to tackle air pollution and climate change. 

Vehicles with disabled tax class benefit, those that are wheelchair-accessible and those registered to people in receipt of certain disability benefits are exempt from the charge until 2027.

But Mr Smorthit claimed this does not go far enough, pointing out that many disabled people rely on nurses to visit them at home, so their care may be affected if staff who visit them are impacted.

He said: “A lot of carers and district nurses are not exempt.

“It’s OK if you’ve got a bit of a reprieve [as a disabled person], but a lot of these cars that are adapted for disabled people you can’t just go to a showroom and say 'I want another one of those, please'.

“At the moment there can be up to a two and half year waiting list just to get an adapted vehicle.”

Highbury, where Mr Smorthit lives, is already part of ULEZ, and he claims that the nurses that visit him at home have already been hit hard by the charge. 

And despite the four-year reprieve for many disabled people, he points out that blue badge holders are not exempt from the charge.

Mr Smorthit said: “A lot of disabled people aren’t able to use public transport, so they need a car – it’s as simple as that.

“It’s all well and good if you can walk or cycle, but not everybody can. I think these people need to be considered too.”

Sadiq Khan has previously claimed that only a "minority of people" have non-compliant vehicles.

Mr Smorthit, who coaches wheelchair basketball, rugby and tennis, has been actively campaigning against ULEZ expansion since it was announced, recently attending a demonstration in Bromley.

He said: “I’m an advocate for people who aren’t able to get out themselves.

“I know quite a few people who are house-bound and can’t get out, who have carers who need to come in multiple times a day, and these are the people that are going to be affected by it.”

What do you think of ULEZ? If you have a story to share about how the expansion of the emissions zone will impact you, be that positively or negatively, email - alex.marsh@newsquest.co.uk