“Hang on a minute, how can they be against something that the chief medical officer is for? How can they be against something that Public Health England is for,” said Rosamund.
“How can they be against something that all medical doctors are for? There is something not quite right.”
Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription
Between being diagnosed with asthma and her death, Ella was admitted to hospital 30 times. Her death certificate originally recorded her cause of death as acute respiratory failure, but – after a campaign from Adoo-Kissi-Debrah – a second inquest found that high levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution contributed to Ella’s fatal asthma.
“The coroner in my daughter’s case didn’t just write to the department of environment. He wrote to the department of environment, transport and the department of health,” she said.
“So even the coroner three years ago saw this as a health matter, and what he urged is that the royal colleges, all parties – and I repeat this again, all parties including the mayor of London – need to work together to resolve this issue.”
Adoo-Kissi-Debrah appeared alongside Sadiq Khan as the policy was expanded, and Khan has frequently spoken about how Ella’s story inspired his determination to reduce air pollution in the capital.
Just 54% of London’s households own a car, down from 57% in 2006. However, the outer boroughs new to the zone tend to have higher rates of ownership.
Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter
The Ulez charge of £12.50 a day for non-compliant vehicles has been criticised for its impact on low-income Londoners and small businesses and charities. A scrappage scheme, offering drivers up to £2,000 to replace a non-compliant car, was recently expanded to cover all Londoners.
Overall, 85% of vehicles in outer London are compliant with Ulez, meaning they do not face the charge.
But Adoo-Kissi-Debrah said the most vulnerable in society would in fact benefit from the scheme.
“Regarding homeless people on the streets who are breathing all these fumes, and who absolutely do not own cars. The air quality in time is going to be better for them.
“I can’t promise them, the only thing I can say is if the government adopt it as law, we will make more progress even quicker for people like the homeless. But that is not within my gift unfortunately.”
She added: “When you’re poor, you don’t have a car”.
However, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah said there were inevitably winners and losers with any new policy, and that improved access to public transport would “inevitably” help with the attitude towards Ulez.
“Public transport needs to be made cheaper, safer, more reliable and clean, and more people will take it. During the summer holidays, why can’t we be like Spain? And do free travel for families to encourage them. We have to give people incentives.”