Enforcement cameras at road junctions in and around High Barnet which were vandalised when the Ultra Low Emission Zone was extended to the outer London boroughs appear to be back in working order.
Measures have now been taken to protect cables connected to the cameras. Some have shields and others are on small platforms, so there is no longer any exposed wiring.
Cables on two cameras at the junction of Barnet Hill and Underhill were cut a week after the charge was introduced -- but the top picture shows the shields that have been fitted to prevent further vandalism.
Cabling was also cut on three cameras on traffic lights in New Barnet at the junction of East Barnet Road and Margaret Road, but these too have been repaired and fitted with protective shields.
One enforcement camera that has remained disabled is at the start of Rowley Green Lane, Arkley, just after the A1 flyover from Boreham Wood. A cabinet beside the camera pole was knocked over and has since been removed. The camera lense has remained covered in white foam.
After several weeks’ experience of ULEZ motorists are becoming more familiar with High Barnet’s role as a gateway for Greater London to the £12.50 daily charge for vehicles that fail to meet the emissions standards.
Transport for London, which is facing stiff opposition from Hertfordshire County Council, was forced to make some concessions because of High Barnet’s location on the edge of the Green Belt, with fewer main roads than in an urban area.
An exemption allows traffic to flow freely – and without charge -- along the Barnet border with Hertsmere, especially, for example, between Borehamwood and Potters Bar.
This has been achieved through the creation of two charge-free corridors on the outskirts of High Barnet -- a concession that has caused confusion for visiting motorists driving older non-compliant vehicles and resulted in some annoying inconsistencies for resident.
The three main roads around the town which are ULEZ exempt are Barnet Road from Stirling Corner to The Arkley public house; St Albans Road to the junction with High Street; and the upper section of High Street and the Great North Road from the St Albans Road junction across Hadley Green to Hadley Highstone.
Private roads off the three main roads are charge free as are many short cul-de-sacs, but there are enforcement cameras at the start of almost every side road.
Galley Lane is also an exclusion corridor – so non-compliant vehicles travelling towards High Barnet on the Barnet Road can turn left and head north at The Arkley public house.
Traffic heading south on Galley Lane towards High Barnet can turn right at the Arkley public house and continue charge-free along Barnet Road to the Stirling Corner roundabout – but vehicles turning left face ULEZ cameras at the start of Wood Street.
Drivers of non-compliant vehicles can still enjoy some of what High Barnet has to offer without having to pay the daily £12.50 charge – but only if they stick closely to the three main roads which are exempt from ULEZ.
Visitors can access properties and venues along these charge-free roads.
If they take care to park within the exclusion corridors – and don’t venture down a side road – they can visit a cafe or pub, go to a football match, play golf, or attend classes for dancing, yoga, and Pilates.
While some businesses, clubs and organisations are pleased to be the unexpected beneficiaries of relief from ULEZ, Transport for London says the location of enforcement cameras is kept under constant review, so this could be subject to change.
Staff at the Old Fold Manor Golf Club, with its approach road off Hadley Green, are advising members with non-compliant vehicles that they will not be charged if they keep to the Great North Road.
Visitors with non-exempt cars can also park outside Hadley Memorial Hall, which holds classes in dancing, yoga, and Pilates.
Among the organisations to benefit from the charge-free route along Barnet Road is Hadley Football Club, which has its stadium in Arkley.
Visiting players and fans, most of whom come from other Southern League clubs in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, will be able to leave the A1 at Stirling Corner and turn left from Barnet Road into Hadley FC’s car park in Brickfield Lane – which is a private road -- without passing an enforcement camera.
Club chairman Steve Gray said it would be a great relief for the club if the exemption is honoured.
“Many of the fans and players are from clubs well to the north of Barnet and we know many with older, non-compliant cars are worried about ULEZ. We’ve already had some parking at Junction 23 services and taking a taxi to Arkley just to avoid ULEZ.”
Across Barnet Road at The Gate public house, manageress Francesca Storey, hopes customers who live outside Greater London and who have older vehicles will not be put off by ULEZ as there is direct access from the main road to the pub’s car park.
Closer to Barnet, staff at The Arkley public house are also seeking to re-assure customers with non-compliant vehicles.
But on leaving the pub, car drivers must either return to Stirling Corner or head north up Galley Lane otherwise they face a battery of ULEZ warning signs and cameras at the start of Wood Street.
One possible loser from the charge-free exclusion corridor along Barnet Road is the Arkley Club.
Its car park is approached via Field End which despite being a short cul-de-sac, has a sign warning it is within ULEZ (but as at present, no camera).
Arkley Care Home is more fortunate as it is approached directly from Barnet Road. Relatives and friends from outside Greater London who have non-compliant cars can visit residents without paying £12.50 if they keep to Barnet Road.
Other long-established clubs and organisations in High Barnet – especially those which hold events attracting visitors from outside Greater London – are having to weigh up the impact of ULEZ.
Barnet Classic Car Club, which had a record turnout of over 100 classic and vintage cars at this year’s show, believes that most of them are probably exempt.
Two categories of historic vehicles are exempt from ULEZ: all vehicles built before January 1973 and vehicles over 40 years old that have been successfully registered with the DVLA for historic vehicle tax class.
“We hope that only a small percentage of members’ cars are caught by the charge, may be 10 per cent, but although we’ll all grumble, paying £12.50 isn’t perhaps the end of the world,” said Chris Nightingale, one of the club’s founders.
Barnet Medieval Festival, which attracts many visiting battlefield re-enactors, for its re-enactment of the Battle of Barnet, was equally pragmatic.
Dr Susan Skedd, the festival director, said their soundings among the re-enactors was that the introduction of ULEZ would have a minimal impact and plans were already being made for the 2024 festival over the weekend of June 8-9.
“It is not a big issue for us because the majority of visitors to the festival come by public transport or arrive on foot.”
The creation of these charge-free routes on the outskirts of High Barnet might result in some householders being offered regular daily payments for parking spaces for non-compliant vehicles.
After the first two weeks of ULEZ there was already evidence of increased street parking along the exclusion corridors.
On the first day of ULEZ the St Albans Road was packed with parked vehicles as far as the eye could see and there were many more cars parked on and around Hadley Green.
Some High Barnet residents with older cars are already trying to work out whether they can devise their own private “rat runs” to drive around the outskirts of the town without incurring the charge.
Peter Wanders, whose shoe shop is just within the charge-free zone of upper High Street, has decided to keep his ten-year-old car which fails to meet the emissions standard.
“I am lucky because I can still drive north up the A1000 towards Potters Bar or along the St Albans Road without paying £12.50. Otherwise, I will have to use the bus.”