The coalition of councils opposing the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to outer London expressed optimism regarding the success of their legal challenge on the first day of the Judicial Review.
The representatives from the five councils, including Harrow, gathered on the steps of the High Court in central London on Tuesday 4 July to make their case against Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London.
The coalition, led by Hillingdon Council, outlined three key grounds for their challenge. Firstly, they claimed that there was a failure to follow statutory procedures as outlined in Schedule 23 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Additionally, they argued that the consultation regarding expected compliance rates in outer London was both unlawful and unfair. Lastly, they claimed that the scrappage scheme, which failed to consider a buffer zone, was irrational and inadequately consulted.
Under the proposed expansion, any non-compliant vehicles driven within the expanded zone after the scheduled start date of Tuesday 29 August would face a daily charge of £12.50. This charge would be applicable regardless of the length of the journey, whether it be a 30-mile commute or a short trip for essential groceries.
The coalition of councils opposing the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to outer London.
Representatives from the five councils, including Harrow, ‘standing strong’ outside court this morning.
— Harrow Online (@harrowonline) July 4, 2023
Councillor Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, expressed confidence in their case, stating, “We believe we can win this. The fact that the court has granted us permission to challenge on three grounds gives us confidence they also see the flaws in TfL and the Mayor’s proposals.”
Councillor Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, referred to the challenge as a significant moment, saying, “This is a great day for the coalition, but disappointing that it has had to come to this.”
Councillor Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, emphasised their opposition to the ULEZ expansion, stating, “Our unswerving opposition to Mayor Khan’s proposed expansion of ULEZ remains absolute.” He further highlighted the potential negative impact on small businesses, employment, social care networks, and mental health.
Councillor Paul Osborn, Leader of the London Borough of Harrow, described the challenge as a milestone and expressed hope for a positive outcome. He criticized the scheme’s potential impact on residents and businesses in Harrow, stating, “an unpopular scheme which will have a significant impact on our residents and businesses – for a negligible impact on air quality.”
Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth at Surrey County Council, expressed his disappointment in the lack of response from the Mayor, saying, “Our concerns have never been addressed by the Mayor, forcing these legal proceedings in order to have the voice of our residents heard.”
The hearing is expected to last for two days, with a ruling from the judge anticipated before the summer break on 28 July. The outcome of the Judicial Review will have significant implications for the ULEZ expansion and its potential impact on residents, businesses, and air quality in outer London boroughs.