Following our Shop Local scheme, we are today launching a Love Local Business campaign in support of traders and residents hit by the ULEZ expansion charge.

London mayor Sadiq Khan's controversial scheme and refusal to enable the car scrappage incentive outside of London is a kick in the teeth for hard-working people.

Many Hertfordshire residents rely on their vehicles to travel in and out of London for work, support vulnerable residents or pleasure.

But from August 29 you will need to pay £12.50 to enter the Greater London Authority boundary - expanding from an area within London's North and South-Circular roads.

The Comet: Love Local BusinessLove Local Business

So what's the answer? Stay local, shop local, work local and build your business base outside of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

During the Covid pandemic and as business began to reopen after lockdowns, the Comet, Welwyn Hatfield Times and Herts Ad supported local businesses through the Shop Local campaign - and we're doing it all again.

Senior group editor Michael Adkins said: "Hertfordshire is uniquely placed for businesses and sole traders. It's a prime location which allows easy access to London by road or rail.

"But, no doubt, the ULEZ expansion to outer London boroughs will hit traders and business owners who regularly drive, or send their colleagues, into the capital for work.

"There will be others who need to visit loved ones and cannot afford the daily charge or to buy a new car.

"That's why I'm supporting calls for residents to Love Local Business and support traders in Hertfordshire and, in turn, for firms and sole traders to build up their customer base within the county.

"London does offer fantastic business opportunities - and a great day out if you're looking from entertainment.

"But why not look closer to home. ULEZ, hikes in fuel prices and the cost-of-living means travelling by car to London is no longer viable for many people."

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This newspaper is not alone calling for readers to love local.

Hertfordshire County Council leader Richard Roberts has expressed his disappointment after Sadiq Khan's plans to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone were ruled as lawful.

He went on to say that signs warning drivers of the expansion would be an endorsement of Sadiq Khan's plans, and that HCC will not erect signs warning drivers they are approaching the new area.