|ULEZ Causing Problems for Mortlake Crematorium|
Staff departing and out-of-town visitors unwittingly incurring charge
The board of the crematorium in Mortlake has expressed concerns about mourners from outside the new Ultra Low Emission Zone having to pay £12.50 to visit loved ones.
The newly expanded zone extends up to the North and South Circular roads. Areas in Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, North Richmond and Kew are included in the zone – including Mortlake Crematorium.
This means people visiting the crematorium will now be charged £12.50 per day by TfL if their vehicle is not compliant with emissions rules.
The penalty charge for cars that drive in the ULEZ and don’t pay the daily fee can be £80, rising to £160 if not paid within 14 days.
Natasha Bradshaw, superintendent at Mortlake Crematorium for 11 years, raised her concerns for mourners visiting the site.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service, “People are coming from all over England to the crematorium. They don’t really know what ULEZ means.
“A man came in the other day who doesn’t come regularly to London at all and didn’t know what we are talking about with ULEZ.
“There is an older gentleman who visits [loved ones] and he said he won’t be coming up as much now.
“People will make the decision not to visit if their car doesn’t comply. Not everyone can afford to replace their cars.”
She continued, “People that come to a funeral don’t always know about ULEZ so how do you tell all of them, that’s my concern.
“One of our staff member’s cars didn’t comply with ULEZ and that was a deciding factor for why he left.
“People that aren’t paid a huge amount, they haven’t got that money to swap their car, so it’s difficult.
“I get [the government] are trying to clean the environment.”
Natasha also said one of the ULEZ signs is partly covered by a tree so “isn’t very clear” when driving in the zone. She added, “I’m not happy with the signage out there.”
Mortlake Crematorium’s board said, “The board is concerned that those grieving and travelling from out of London to the crematorium are unaware of what ULEZ is.
“The board believes that the road signage could be improved for drivers coming to the crematorium and the TfL website could be clearer, as many visitors have thought they need to pay the congestion charge.
“It seems dreadfully sad for those already grieving and attending a funeral to have to pay a fine of £80 for unintentionally not paying to drive in the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
“The crematorium would urge TfL to review all signage on Townmead Road to make people aware they may need to pay; saying it is the responsibility of the driver is just not good enough in this situation.”
Cllr Gareth Roberts, leader of Richmond Council, said, “Ever since TfL proposed this expansion we have challenged the boundaries.
“We are supportive of the ULEZ as a whole [but] we cannot support the dividing line that this boundary places through our borough and our communities.
“As a result, many of our residents and businesses are now faced with having to pay to visit the recycling centre or the crematorium – something all local tax-payers should be entitled to access for free.”
TfL has been contacted for comment.
The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas Day.
James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter