Homeless dogs’ charity claims its future ‘at risk’ over ULEZ expansion

·3-min read
Volunteers with Dogs on the Streets and one of their vehicles (Dogs on the Streets)
Volunteers with Dogs on the Streets and one of their vehicles (Dogs on the Streets)

A charity which helps homeless people’s dogs has warned its future could be at risk because of the newly expanded ULEZ charge.

Members of charity Dogs on the Streets, which helps vulnerable and homeless people with a mobile vet surgery and dog fostering, has expressed concerns about its volunteers are being frequently hit with both the ULEZ charge and Congestion Charge.

The small charity’s members estimate there is a daily cost of up to £40 a day, on top of significant outgoings on vets bills.

Dogs on the Streets is based in Enfield just outside the new ULEZ border on the North Circular. It has two vehicles which do not meet emissions standards - a custom-made vet vehicle and a transport van fitted with cages for when clients can’t take care of their dogs.

TfL operates a scrappage scheme which it says has taken 13,000 polluting vehicles off the road with sums ranging from up to £2,000 for a car and £9,500 for vans.

But Dogs on the Streets, the charity has said the two adapted vehicles cost more than the scrappage grant maximums - meaning it would lose thousands of pounds supporters have donated were it to switch.

The charity’s defiant founder Michelle Clark told the Standard: “I’m not going to have to close down my charity and put people’s lives at risk.”

Charity volunteers have now started a petition calling for the vehicles to be exempt from ULEZ which has received more than five thousand signatures in just two days.

Charity volunteers have now set up petition calling for a specific exemption from ULEZ (Dogs on the Streets)
Charity volunteers have now set up petition calling for a specific exemption from ULEZ (Dogs on the Streets)

“His [Sadiq Khan] motto is, ‘Every journey matters’. Well obviously it doesn’t when it comes to human and canine lives,” added Ms Clark.

Dogs on the Streets charity has said it does not qualify for limited exemptions for community transport or emergency services.

“We’re saving dog’s lives and human lives as well as supporting the emergency services. I wouldn’t say we’re an emergency service but we’re definitely a vital one,” said the charity founder.

A TfL spokesperson told the Standard it would happily share the experience of other charities to find the “best option” for Dogs on the Streets.

 (Jeremy Selwyn)
(Jeremy Selwyn)

“London’s dirty air disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and results in thousands of premature deaths every year,” said the spokesperson.

“It increases the risk of asthma, dementia and cancer and stunts the development of children’s lungs. That’s why the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone is so important, with people’s lives and health at stake.

“Many charities like Dogs on Streets who do fantastic work have been helped by our scrappage scheme to take their heavily polluting vehicles off the road.”

The £61m scheme is currently closed to new applications as all funding has been claimed.

The ULEZ area, which last month expanded to take in all roads between the North and South Circulars, mainly affects older polluting cars.

TfL has said 87 per cent of vehicles travelling in the zone already meet the ULEZ standards.

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