The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has confirmed the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to cover almost all of the area within the Greater London boundary on 29 August as planned, following the very significant High Court ruling that the process carried out on the proposal to expand the ULEZ, including the public consultation, was thorough and the decision was entirely legally sound.
The Mayor welcomed the judgment, which allows him to press on with the expansion and will bring approximately five million more Londoners into the zone – on top of the four million Londoners already benefitting from cleaner air who live in the existing zone.
The four London boroughs (Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon) and Surrey County Council had been permitted to argue three grounds of challenge against the Mayor and TfL out of five grounds advanced in their original claim. The other two grounds had previously been rejected outright by the High Court.
Cllr Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: “Whilst we respect today’s court decision, it is incredibly disappointing.
“This has always been about protecting Surrey residents, many of whom will now be significantly socially and financially impacted by the Mayor’s decision as they go about essential, everyday journeys without any mitigation in place to minimise this.
“Our concerns, which have never been addressed by the Mayor despite our continued efforts, forced these legal proceedings to ensure we did all we possibly could to have the voice of our residents heard.”
The Court ruled in favour of the Mayor on all three legal grounds heard in the case, saying, “The councils’ challenge fails on all three grounds and is dismissed”. The judge (Mr Justice Swift) found that the legal basis on which the Mayor decided to expand the ULEZ was sound and in line with previous decisions on the ULEZ and the Congestion Charge and that the ULEZ could legally apply to all roads within the expanded zone.
It is estimated that more than £ 1 million of the councils’ public money will have been spent on this court case. The Mayor has been publicly critical of the five councils who brought this challenge, choosing to waste public money fighting a clear-air policy. £ 1 million is the equivalent of more than 350,000 free school meals for children in the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on 29 August.
“The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly, and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.
“The ULEZ has already reduced toxic nitrogen dioxide air pollution by nearly half in central London and a fifth in inner London. The coming expansion will see five million more Londoners being able to breathe cleaner air. “
.© London West (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).
Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.