Harrow hit the headlines this week after it announced its intention to issue High Court proceedings against the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to block the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULZ).
In the zone
In November of last year, Mr Khan announced that the ULEZ which currently applies to all areas around the North Circular and South Circular roads is to be expanded to a number of other London boroughs, including Harrow. Motorists who live in or travel to or through ULEZ areas are required to ensure that their vehicles meet minimum emission standards (Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol vehicles and Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel vehicles. Any motorists whose cars do not meet these standards will be subject to a charge of £12.50 per day.
The move has been met with dismay by many Harrow residents who are already struggling with the current cost of living crisis and Harrow Council leader, Paul Osborn, confirmed on Wednesday that plans have been approved which will allow Harrow to present a legal challenge based on a number of factors, including:
● Mr Khan has acted beyond his powers by expanding the ULEZ instead of issuing a new charging order
● Mr Khan is relying upon incorrect assumptions regarding Harrow’s non-compliant vehicles
● Private citizens in many Greater London boroughs, including Harrow, are not eligible for the vehicle scrappage scheme
Driving fairness for Harrow
At the time of writing, Harrow Council has issued a pre-action letter to the Mayor and is currently reviewing its next steps which may include legal action. In order to take the case to the High Court, Harrow must file the relevant documents by the 24th of February and the borough has confirmed that a budget of £400,000 is in place to cover the costs of such a case.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has said that he will fight any legal action by Harrow or any other borough and a statement from TFL Director, Alex Williams, has been issued saying, ‘We want to do this with the consent of the boroughs but the Mayor does have the powers to intervene and install the signs and cameras if need be’.
Although Harrow’s Labour leaders have questioned the decision to spend public money on blocking the scheme, Conservative spokespersons for Harrow insist that doing so is in the best interests of the borough’s residents.