Outer London Council launches legal challenge to Mayor’s ULEZ expansion

Five Conservative-led parliaments on the outskirts of London have launched a legal challenge against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ).

ULEZ is a region where vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards must pay a fee of £12.50 ($15) per day to operate, with fines for non-compliance. The scheme currently operates in areas within London’s North and South Ring Roads and covers his four million people, about 44% of the capital’s population.

Epoch Times photo
Enlarged old vehicle boundary sign at the ULEZ pollution charge zone in London, 25 October 2021. (Yui Mok/PA)

In November 2022, Transport for London (TfL) announced it would pursue a proposal to extend the scheme across Greater London from 29 August 2023.

In a joint statement issued on 16 February, Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and the outer London boroughs of Surrey County Council said they had launched a judicial review to challenge the decision.

A spokesman for the mayor said he would oppose any challenge to this “important plan.”

“Severe social and economic harm”

The Council found ULEZ in the High Court on the grounds that the “relevant statutory requirements” had not been complied with, the expected rate of compliance outside London had not been taken into account, and the proposed scrapping scheme had not been discussed. said it would object to the expansion of

They also allege that the overall consultation process was not properly conducted and that the plan failed to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.

Hillingdon Council leader Ian Edwards said: We believe that Sadiq Khan’s decision to impose this scheme on a borough on the outskirts of London is illegal. “

Surrey County Councilor Tim Oliver said:

“We are disappointed by the lack of discussion and consideration of these proposals by the Lord Mayor of London. We cannot stand by and watch.”

Khan’s spokesman said the Labor-controlled Greater London Authority (GLA) “will defend any challenge to this important project”.

A spokesman echoed Khan’s claim that “about 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year from air pollution” and said the mayor was “determined to save the lives of Londoners”.

“Shocking” Timing

Before Surrey County Council joined the lawsuit, four suburban London boroughs had pledged to oppose ULEZ’s expansion plans.

Of particular concern is the extra cost for small businesses that rely on vans for transportation.

To avoid ULEZ charges, diesel vehicles, which make up the majority of vans, must be Euro 6 standards, which generally covers vehicles registered from 2016.

A delivery van driver or salesperson entering the zone in an old van every day would cost more than £3,100 per year.

Drivers who fail to pay face a daily penalty of £160, halved if paid within two weeks.

Commenting on Khan’s ULEZ decision, Bromley Council leader Colin Smith told the Epoch Times:

He said local residents and independent business owners, such as plumbers and workers, are under pressure to buy vans that must meet minimum emission standards.

“New vans are increasingly scarce and demand is driving up prices,” he said.

“People are having a hard time getting paid right now for a variety of reasons. Even if this was the right idea, the timing is really shocking,” Smith said.

“Mad Lefty Tux”

Khan’s ULEZ decision has been criticized by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who said last month he was “disappointed” that the mayor “chosen not to listen to the public” with the backing of Labor leader Kier Sturmer. I am doing,” he said.

“I urge the mayor to properly reconsider and respond to these serious concerns,” he said in a Jan. 18 prime minister’s question.

Khan’s predecessor as mayor of London, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, posted a video twitter On Wednesday, he accused Khan of trying to “scrape money” from drivers.

“There’s only one reason he’s doing it,” Johnson said. “He bankrupted TfL for mismanaging London’s finances. thinking about.”

Mr Johnson is urging people to “oppose his plan to take money from distressed motorists and stop this mad leftist tax on people’s lives and livelihoods at a very difficult time.” called.

In response, Mr Khan said on Thursday that he would “not be lectured” by his predecessor who “ignored science and facts”.

Owen Evans, Lily Zhou, and PA Media contributed to this report.