Today [28 July] a judge has dismissed a legal challenge from five Conservative-led councils against mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s proposed expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to encompass all of outer London.
The outer London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon and Surrey county council initiated the legal action back in February this year.
The judge has ruled the expansion lawful.
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, 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.
“…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 50 employees. I will continue to look at new ideas to support Londoners.”
Though three of the proposed grounds for the initial judicial review were dismissed by a judge, two of the five grounds presented were deemed “arguable”.
These two grounds were the legal basis for the expansion and the development of the £110m scrappage scheme, on which the councils claimed there was not sufficient consultation.
The scrappage scheme was established to support certain drivers and small businesses to transition to greener vehicles before the £12.50 charge for non-compliant vehicles was implemented London-wide.
The presiding judge, Mr Justice Swift, said: “I am satisfied that the mayor’s decision to expand the ULEZ area by amendment of the present road charging scheme, rather than by making an entirely new…scheme, was within his powers.”
In recent weeks the London mayor has been pressured by several senior Labour party members to abandon the controversial scheme, partly in response to the recent Conservative win in the by-election for Uxbridge & South Ruislip (constituency of former prime minister Boris Johnson).