Forget climate crisis and daily fires burning London-let’s challenge London Mayor’s decison to allow Met Police access to ULEZ cameras.

Newham GLA Green Party member challenges London Mayor’s decision to allow Met Police access to ULEZ expansion cameras.

The Newham London Assembly member Sian Berry has decided that despite the country facing a climate crisis, fires breaking out all over London that have recently caused so much damage across Wennington and Dagenham, firefighters desperately trying to stop the sales of portable barbecues to stop fires and save our grassland from being destroyed- she is going to spearhead London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to allow the Met Police access to cameras used for the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zones.

This summer has clearly highlighted what environmentalists have been stating for years, the climate crisis. Our parks, gardens, grasslands, look like straw with hardly any ‘green and pleasant land’ to be seen. The daily fires are a huge source of concern as is the lack of rain. It looks like rain-but then no rain.

Temperatures hit all time highs last month with unprecedented heat- yet in spite of all this that would surely be enough to show any climate denier how wrong they were, here we are focusing attention on intrusive ULEZ cameras.

Sian Berry is working with Open Rights Group, a privacy campaigning organisation, and law firm Bindman’s, to prevent the Mayor waving through a new police surveillance network, without any public consultation with Londoners.

Apparently Sian first warned the Mayor privately in 2019, in a series of meetings and an exchange of letters, about the potential privacy implications of a London-wide camera network and urged him to get the consent of Londoners before launching any such scheme. 

The former Mayor of London granted police ‘limited access’ to data from Automated Number-Plate Recognition (ANPR) road cameras in 2014. However, the current Mayor expanded these powers in May this year to include the whole of inner London, not just the congestion charging zone, and add ‘enhanced contextual imagery data’ from road cameras.  

This means police will be given access to photographs of roads showing the colour and make of vehicles, and potentially images of the faces of drivers and people walking past on the pavement.  

Of course all this will be highly intrusive for people.

We are in the midst of a troubled time for our planet, record high temperatures, fires breaking out daily, toxic air- the list goes on. Surely now is the time for a member of the Green Party to be working with the London Mayor to address these challenging times London is facing.

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