Home   Sevenoaks   News   Article

Effigy of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to be burnt at Edenbridge Bonfire Night following ULEZ expansion

A giant effigy of Sadiq Khan is set to go up in flames at one of Kent's most popular fireworks festivals.

The annual Edenbridge Bonfire celebration, which takes place at the town’s recreation ground, has announced that this year will see an 11m tall figure of the London Mayor set alight as part of its display.

This year’s effigy
This year’s effigy

Andrea Deans, who created the giant effigy, said: “As a society we had hoped to move away from political figures this year but it was the public who had their say on what we should do.

“Mr Khan received more than 52% of the public vote and it was due to his decision to extend the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) close to the borders of our town that we felt we had to go along with the majority vote.

“Other contenders for our 2023 event included Suella Braverman, Russell Brand, Phillip Schofield and even Harry and Meghan.’’

The Labour politician has come under fire this year over his controversial decision to expand the ULEZ to include the greater London boroughs, including Bexley and Bromley, up to the borders with Dartford and Sevenoaks.

ULEZ is an emission-based charging scheme in the capital that requires certain polluting vehicles driving within it to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

The effigy was decided by a public vote
The effigy was decided by a public vote

It was made bigger despite a continued fightback from bordering Conservative-led councils which launched a failed High Court appeal against Khan’s plans.

In response, he defended the “pollution penalty”, maintaining he needed to make a “difficult but vital” decision to address London’s dirty air and curb deaths and public health issues associated with it.

“The expansion of the policy is not to raise revenue,” he explained. “In fact when you include the set up cost of the ULEZ after a couple of years no money is made at all because of the need for vehicles to be compliant.”

He has pledged any money made will be invested back into public transport in outer London but despite this has faced criticism that the charge penalises those who cannot afford to upgrade their car and people living in areas with bad public transport.

Last month, KentOnline revealed nearly 70,000 motorists in the county have been slapped with £90 fines for driving into the ULEZ before its latest expansion.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come under criticism over controversial ULEZ plans. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has come under criticism over controversial ULEZ plans. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

Edenbridge Bonfire Society has now revealed it will be burning a wooden figure of the mayor alongside Guy Fawkes on Saturday, November 4.

The procession will start at 6.30pm with the fireworks display kicking off at 8.30pm.

Chairman Bill Cummings added: “This year we have chosen Sadiq Khan whose decision to extend the ULEZ has affected many people living and working in our town.

“Unlike those living inside the new extended zone, there is no support for people who live outside it but whose livelihoods and commitments have been greatly affected by this decision.

“Sadiq Khan may not be as well-known as other celebrity guys we have had in the past but I am sure there will be many people in towns such as ours celebrating our choice.”

Last year, an effigy of former Prime Minister Liz Truss was set alight which caused uproar among some who said it was "bullying" and "barbaric".

She was depicted holding a Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest-serving PM in the country's history, and lettuce on her shoulder, a reference to the Daily Star’s live stream of an iceberg lettuce which outlasted her time at Number 10.

Videos showed visitors counting down before the head exploded and fireworks burst out behind the smoking wooden figure to the soundtrack of DJ Fresh's Gold Dust.

The Liz Truss effigy at the Edenbridge Bonfire in 2022. Picture: Facebook / Edenbridge Bonfire Society
The Liz Truss effigy at the Edenbridge Bonfire in 2022. Picture: Facebook / Edenbridge Bonfire Society

Every year since 1994, a 10m-tall celebrity effigy has been burnt as part of the celebrations.

In the past, the wooden figure has taken the form of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins, Jonathan Ross, Katie Price, Wayne Rooney, Lance Armstrong, Gordon Brown, John Prescott, Anne Robinson and Saddam Hussein.

The society has been celebrating Bonfire Night for more than 90 years and has been known to feature more than 750 people in its torch-lit parade through Edenbridge High Street.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More