Sadiq Khan didn't announce ULEZ exemptions for minorities for travel to places of worship

By: Rahul Adhikari
August 2 2023

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Sadiq Khan didn't announce ULEZ exemptions for minorities for travel to places of worship


The Verdict False

A screenshot of a fabricated has been shared to falsely claim that Khan said that minorities will be given exemptions to visit places of worship.

Claim ID 62721045


A screenshot of a purported newspaper article has been circulating on social media, claiming the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is granting Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) exemptions for minorities. The headline of the viral report reads, “Journeys to Houses Of Worship Exempt From ULEZ.” According to the screenshot, the mayor stated at a recent press conference that exemptions will be given, where absolutely necessary, for medical emergencies and travel to houses of worship by minorities. Khan confirmed that minorities, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Sikhs, will be exempted even if their vehicles do not comply with the guidelines. One such post on a U.K. Facebook group has garnered 41 shares and 36 likes, along with comments from several users complaining about discrimination.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a regulatory area implemented in certain parts of London to improve air quality and reduce emissions from vehicles. If a vehicle doesn't meet the ULEZ emissions standards and isn't subject to exemptions, then the driver needs to pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive within the zone. The expansion of ULEZ has been controversial among both the public and politicians in London.

However, the claim is false. A fabricated news article was shared to falsely claim that Khan announced ULEZ exemptions for minorities for the purpose of worship. 

In fact

According to the Transport for London website, the ULEZ zone currently covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. The zone will be expanded from 29 August 2023 to cover all London boroughs. We reviewed the ULEZ "Discounts and exemptions" and could find neither evidence of exemptions for minorities traveling to places of worship nor exemptions based on the religion of the drivers. However, minibusses used for community transport by not-for-profit organizations can register for a temporary 100 percent discount on the ULEZ charge until 26 October 2025. These are minibusses that carry passengers on a not-for-profit basis, including for educational, religious, and social welfare reasons or other activities that benefit the community.

Sophie Lawrenson, Senior Press Officer, Transport for London, refuted the claim and told Logically Facts, “A temporary exemption (until 26 October 2025) applies for minibusses used for community transport by a range of not-for-profit organizations, which could include transport to a place of worship, among other activities. There is no exemption in place specifically for journeys undertaken to a place of worship.” 

The viral screenshot of the newspaper article contains several significant discrepancies, pointing to it being inauthentic. The font style used in the article is inconsistent. The article lacks a byline and a dateline and does not give any sign of the paper it supposedly appeared in. The writing is also filled with grammatical errors, suggesting that it is a fabricated piece. One sentence currently reads: "In cases where it absolutely necessary to travel,” lacking the verb "is." Additionally, whereas both ULEZ and Ulez are acceptable abbreviations used by actual newspapers, the purported article uses both in the same story inconsistently, a practice not usually adopted by reliable media outlets.

Further, we noted that the image used in the article is captioned: "Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pictured yesterday before making the controversial announcement." However, the image actually dates back to 2017. It was uploaded on Sadiq Khan’s official Facebook page on October 16, 2017.

We reviewed the social media handles of the Mayor of London and couldn’t find any such post announcing an exemption for minorities. Further, there are no reports that suggest that Khan has made any such statement. 

The verdict

The viral claim that Mayor Sadiq Khan is granting ULEZ exemptions for minorities is not true. Officials have confirmed that there are no exemptions specifically for journeys undertaken to places of worship provided to minorities. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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