The High Court has granted permission for a Judicial Review into the proposed expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) into all outer London boroughs from August 2023.
Permission has been granted on two grounds: Failure to comply with relevant statutory requirements, and whether the Mayor properly considered the previous “buffer zone” approach as a material consideration in relation to the scrappage scheme. The hearing of the claim is likely to be listed in the week commencing Monday 3 July or shortly thereafter.
The legal challenge was launched by a coalition of councils – the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon and Harrow, along with Surrey County Council, into Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London’s plans to expand the ULEZ to outer London.
Nick Rogers, the City Hall Conservatives transport spokesperson, welcomed the decision, saying: “The High Court has now ruled there is sufficient evidence that Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ decision may have been unlawful.”
“The mayor clearly does not have the legal grounds to proceed with his ULEZ tax plans and must now explain his actions to the court.”
The ULEZ expansion is scheduled to come into force from August 29, 2023. From that date, motorists driving into outer London boroughs will have to pay £12.50 per day if their cars do not meet Euro 4 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) emissions standards.
Cllr Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, said: “We have continued to outline our concerns about the legality of the decision being made, which is why we have taken legal action. We welcome the fact that these concerns will now be heard by the High Court, with the outcome a matter for the court to determine.”
“Our principled opposition to the expanded ULEZ remains undiminished. We will continue to stand up for residents and the many businesses who face an even more uncertain future. We are standing up for what is right, which includes clean air, with Bromley’s excellent record in this regard already plainly evident within the Mayor’s own research papers.”
He added: “Our borough is already a healthy borough by virtually every measurement, with the truth about the longer term intentions of the enforcement cameras, that of road price charging for all, now slowly but surely being dragged out into the open for all to see.”
“There is still time for the Mayor to pull back and take a more considered approach which takes outer London’s differing needs and circumstances into account and I call upon the Mayor publicly once again to do precisely that, not just for the good of due process, but most of all for the benefit of all those threatened by the horrendous daily cost of his proposed tax, particularly upon those least able to pay.”
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “We were confident that the coalition had put together a robust case against expansion and this is backed up by the courts agreeing to have our challenge heard. We listened to our residents and businesses who have expressed significant concerns over the social and economic impact of ULEZ expansion and could not stand aside and allow it to be rolled out without challenge.”
He concluded: “We remain confident that the court will see that the Mayor failed to follow due process, that his proposed scrappage scheme is inadequate, the irreparable harm ULEZ expansion would have on outer London and its neighbours, and that it will rightfully quash these disastrous plans.”
Cllr Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, said: “The residents of Bexley gave us a clear mandate to oppose Mayor Khan’s proposal to expand the ULEZ. It was never about air quality and we believe it would have disastrous consequences for many of our residents and businesses, as well as others who regularly travel into the borough. We hope that today’s decision moves us a step closer to stopping the Mayor’s money-making scheme.”
Cllr Paul Osborn, Leader of Harrow Council, said: “We said we would take this to court, and now we will get to present our case against the expansion of the ULEZ. This success is the first stage of the legal battle against the unpopular scheme which means the case will go to a hearing at the High Court. We are confident that the court will see how process was not followed through and proper steps not taken in relation to the scrappage scheme.”
“We have always had concerns about the impact ULEZ will have on our residents and businesses who are already struggling with the rising costs of living – it’s simply unfair! We will not back down on our fight against ULEZ and will continue to stand up for our residents.”
Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “This is good news and I’m pleased that our challenge to the Mayor of London regarding ULEZ is proceeding. The impact on Surrey’s residents and businesses has been ignored by the Mayor and it’s frankly disgraceful that it’s taken legal proceedings to have our voices heard.”
“Our consultation response in July 2022 clearly highlighted that the Mayor’s decision failing to include Surrey residents in any scrappage scheme was unacceptable, and proposed a number of other recommendations to help mitigate both the financial and potential environmental impacts of the expansion. Our concerns have not been addressed by the Mayor.”
“We remain committed to delivering a greener future, but it must be done in a practical and sustainable way. We will now await the findings of the Judicial Review.”