London Mayor Sadiq Khan's plan to extend the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) across London has won a legal battle in the High Court. The court rejected three claims made by five Conservative-led councils challenging the extension.
- Five Conservative-led councils (Hillingdon, Bromley, Bexley, Harrow, and Surrey County Council) contested the proposed Ulez expansion in April. They raised concerns about the lawfulness of the consultation process, the mayor's authority to implement the plan, and objections to a planned scrappage scheme.
- In a ruling on Friday, Mr. Justice Swift declared that all three challenges against the Ulez expansion had failed. He defended the mayor's decision to expand the Ulez area by amending the existing road charging scheme, arguing it fell within his powers.
- As a result of the court's decision, drivers in outer London will face a daily fee of £12.50 starting from August 29 if their vehicles do not meet the required emissions standards.
- Following the court's ruling, Sadiq Khan announced his intention to proceed with the Ulez expansion as planned. He expressed satisfaction with the court's decision, emphasizing the positive impact the Ulez has already had on reducing air pollution in central and inner London.
- The five Conservative council leaders issued a joint statement after the ruling, calling on Mayor Khan to "further reflect" on his Ulez plan. They emphasized that their fight against the Ulez expansion had not ended, and they would continue their opposition through parliamentary channels and in the next mayoral election.
- Motoring groups, including the AA, expressed disappointment with the High Court ruling. They highlighted three major flaws in the Ulez: the lack of public transport alternatives in many outer London areas, the short time frame between decision and implementation, and the disproportionate impact on low-income drivers who could not afford to update their vehicles.
- Susan Hall, the Conservative Party's London mayoral candidate, criticized the Ulez expansion and vowed to halt it if elected. She proposed creating a £50 million pollution hotspots fund to tackle pollution in targeted areas instead of implementing a city-wide charge.
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Source: The Telegraph, available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2023/07/28/high-court-ruling-in-favour-sadiq-khan-ulez-zone-expansion/