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HomeMore NewsHertfordshire leaders call for ULEZ scrappage scheme beyond London's borders

Hertfordshire leaders call for ULEZ scrappage scheme beyond London’s borders

Sadiq Khan does not need to offer ULEZ scrappage support to home counties drivers, the High Court has ruled.

As part of a £110million scheme, some drivers in Greater London and the City can scrap their cars or vans in exchange for a payment – up to £2,000 for cars and £9,500 for vans.

But council leaders in Hertfordshire have said sole traders, microbusiness owners and drivers on benefits in their areas will need help if ULEZ expands to county borders.

“The Mayor of London says it’s the Government’s job,” Peter Taylor, the directly elected Mayor of Watford said.

“The Government would say it’s for the Mayor of London.

“The Government has to respond to this ruling because businesses throughout Watford and Hertfordshire are going to be penalised.

“There’s a sort-of natural justice that needs to happen.”

The ULEZ – or ultra low emission zone – is already in place between the A406 North Circular and A205 South Circular roads.

Drivers of some of the most polluting vehicles are charged £12.50 per day for entering the zone.

The arrangement is due to expand on August 29, to include most of outer London.

Four London councils – Harrow, Hillingdon, Bexley and Bromley – and Surrey County Council challenged this plan in the High Court.

Mr Justice Jonathan Swift threw out the five authorities’ appeal, ruling ULEZ expansion can go ahead.

“I’m not surprised by that,” Peter Taylor said.

“Not expanding the scrappage scheme is unfortunate to residents across the border.

Hertfordshire leaders call for ULEZ scrappage scheme beyond London's borders Harrow Online
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor (LD). Credit: Watford Borough Council

“Times are tough at the moment and you will have a lot of people who need to travel into London from Watford by car.”

As part of their review, the five councils argued the Mayor of London had not considered whether to open up the £110m scrappage scheme to eligible motorists in home counties such as Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Essex.

“The councils point out that the scrappage schemes available in 2019 and 2020, when the ULEZ expanded to the boundary of the North and South Circular roads, permitted applications by persons outside the ULEZ area,” the ruling reads.

On this basis, the five councils argued, a further expanded ULEZ would need to come with a further expanded scrappage area.

“I do not accept this … submission,” the judge said, referring to a bundle of documents which set out how early consultations were completed.

“It is readily apparent that the information available to the mayor covered the debate on whether eligibility for the scrappage scheme should extend to people and businesses outside London.”

The judgement continues: “The mayor was not subject to any freestanding obligation to approve any grant payment to support a scrappage scheme.

“Whether he did, and if so in what amount, were political choices within his discretion.

“Nor was the mayor subject to any legal obligation that prescribed the terms of any scrappage scheme he might choose to fund.

Hertfordshire leaders call for ULEZ scrappage scheme beyond London's borders Harrow Online
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: Greater London Authority

“On this matter, so far as concerned any legal obligation, the mayor had something of a free hand.”

The judge added an early scrappage consultation was a “straw poll” which Transport for London carried out at the Mayor of London’s request – not because it had any legal duties – and concluded there is no law which compels the mayor to offer scrappage payments in the first place.

Sadiq Khan does not need to offer ULEZ scrappage support to home counties drivers, the High Court has ruled.

As part of a £110million scheme, some drivers in Greater London and the City can scrap their cars or vans in exchange for a payment – up to £2,000 for cars and £9,500 for vans.

But council leaders in Hertfordshire have said sole traders, microbusiness owners and drivers on benefits in their areas will need help if ULEZ expands to county borders.

“The Mayor of London says it’s the Government’s job,” Peter Taylor, the directly elected Mayor of Watford said.

“The Government would say it’s for the Mayor of London.

“The Government has to respond to this ruling because businesses throughout Watford and Hertfordshire are going to be penalised.

“There’s a sort-of natural justice that needs to happen.”

The ULEZ – or ultra low emission zone – is already in place between the A406 North Circular and A205 South Circular roads.

Drivers of some of the most polluting vehicles are charged £12.50 per day for entering the zone.

The arrangement is due to expand on August 29, to include most of outer London.

Four London councils – Harrow, Hillingdon, Bexley and Bromley – and Surrey County Council challenged this plan in the High Court.

Mr Justice Jonathan Swift threw out the five authorities’ appeal, ruling ULEZ expansion can go ahead.

“I’m not surprised by that,” Peter Taylor said.

“Not expanding the scrappage scheme is unfortunate to residents across the border.

“Times are tough at the moment and you will have a lot of people who need to travel into London from Watford by car.”

As part of their appeal, the five councils argued the Mayor of London had not considered whether to open up the £110m scrappage scheme to eligible motorists in home counties such as Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Essex.

“The councils point out that the scrappage schemes available in 2019 and 2020, when the ULEZ expanded to the boundary of the North and South Circular roads, permitted applications by persons outside the ULEZ area,” the ruling reads.

On this basis, the five councils argued, a further expanded ULEZ would need to come with a further expanded scrappage area.

“I do not accept this … submission,” the judge said, referring to a bundle of documents which set out how early consultations were completed.

“It is readily apparent that the information available to the mayor covered the debate on whether eligibility for the scrappage scheme should extend to people and businesses outside London.”

The judgement continues: “The mayor was not subject to any freestanding obligation to approve any grant payment to support a scrappage scheme.

“Whether he did, and if so in what amount, were political choices within his discretion.

“Nor was the mayor subject to any legal obligation that prescribed the terms of any scrappage scheme he might choose to fund.

“On this matter, so far as concerned any legal obligation, the mayor had something of a free hand.”

The judge added an early scrappage consultation was a “straw poll” which Transport for London carried out at the Mayor of London’s request – not because it had any legal duties – and concluded there is no law which compels the mayor to offer scrappage payments in the first place.

Broxbourne borough leader will ‘continue to fight against ULEZ’

Conservative councillor for Wormley and Turnford Lewis Cocking, leader of Broxbourne Borough Council, has said he is “disappointed” with the outcome.

“We’re completely against this and will continue to fight against ULEZ expansion,” he said.

“If it is going to go ahead, we should get the same as what London’s getting.

“If we are being taxed in the saw way as London’s drivers, anything to offset it should be comparable.

“We all live in the UK and should be treated equally.”

Hertfordshire County Council leader and King’s Langley councillor Richard Roberts said: “I am hugely disappointed in the ruling of the Court and stand by my previous comments on the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

“This is the wrong scheme at the wrong time and will do nothing but penalise some of the lowest earners in society who need their older vehicles to travel to work, see friends and care for relatives.”

Cllr Roberts previously wrote to Sadiq Khan telling him the authority would not allow ULEZ cameras or signage on its land.

Dilemma: ‘Do I change my car or do I pay this daily charge?’

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who represents the inner London seat Holborn and St Pancras, has also joined the chorus of voices calling for a scrappage scheme beyond London.

During a BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in on Wednesday, July 26, he told listeners the Government had put aside money to support drivers beyond Clean Air Zone (CAZ) borders in Birmingham and Bristol.

“But it hasn’t put any money into London and I think the Government should do that,” Sir Keir said.

“Because the dilemma people have is ‘do I change my car which might cost me money or do I pay this daily charge?’

“If we make it easier for them to change their car with a proper scrappage scheme, then that massively helps.

“But the Government won’t do it.”

He said expanding the scheme “is a decision for the mayor”.

Reacting to the ruling, Sadiq Khan said: “This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on August 29.

“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.

“I’ve been listening to Londoners throughout the ULEZ rollout, which is why from next week I am expanding the scrappage scheme to nearly a million families who receive child benefit and all small businesses with up to fifty employees. I will continue to look at new ideas to support Londoners.”

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