High Court Hears Challenge to London’s Ulez Scrappage Scheme and Expansion

High Court Hears Challenge to London’s Ulez Scrappage Scheme and Expansion

…By Henry George for TDPel Media.

The High Court heard on Wednesday that London Mayor Sadiq Khan had considered allowing motorists residing on the outskirts of the city to access the £110m Ulez (Ultra Low Emission Zone) scrappage scheme.

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However, this proposal was ultimately rejected for valid reasons, according to lawyers representing Transport for London (TfL).

Five Tory Councils Challenge Ulez Expansion and Scrappage Scheme Restrictions

Five Conservative-led councils, including Harrow, Hillingdon, Bexley, Bromley, and Surrey County Council, have taken legal action, claiming that Khan’s proposed Ulez expansion to the Greater London boundary is illegal and unfair.

They argue that the scrappage scheme, which is currently limited to London residents and businesses, should also be accessible to motorists living in the “buffer zone” around the city.

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TfL Defends Targeting Low-Income Londoners and Small Businesses

Transport for London presented documents to the court, stating that with limited funds available, the scrappage scheme would be most effective if targeted at low-income Londoners and small businesses within the capital.

Approximately £30m has already been allocated or paid out, and the scheme is set to be expanded at the end of July to include London families receiving child benefit.

Dispute Over Ulez Expansion Process and Consultation

The councils claim that Khan exceeded his powers by seeking to expand the Ulez through varying the existing legal order instead of drafting a new one.

They also argue that there were flaws in TfL’s consultation documents, with a “gaping hole” in the provided information.

Court Raises Questions about Ulez Extension Process

During the hearing, Mr. Justice Swift appeared to support the councils’ argument that the Ulez extension should have been established through a new charging order.

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The court questioned the novelty of the extension, but TfL’s representative, Ben Jaffey KC, argued that variations to the emission zone order had been made before and that Khan had the authority to do so.

Dispute Over Data and Impact Assessment

The councils raised concerns about TfL’s calculations regarding the number of drivers likely to be affected by the Ulez expansion.

They argued that TfL’s reliance on limited data from outer London, rather than considering evidence from central and inner London, raised doubts about the accuracy and robustness of the estimates.

TfL Defends Consultation Process and Data Methods

TfL’s representative, Ben Jaffey, maintained that the consultation provided more than sufficient information and that no further details were required for a fair consultation.

He argued that TfL’s calculations were based on their computer modeling program, Motion, which incorporated camera data, travel surveys, and anonymized phone data.

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TfL emphasized that the uncertainty of some data had been transparently communicated during the consultation process.

Trunk Roads Exemption and Ulez Enforcement

The court documents revealed that TfL does not enforce the expanded Ulez on trunk roads, including sections of the M1 and M4 motorways.

This decision was not an act of generosity but rather due to the difficulty of driving exclusively on trunk roads within the charging area.

TfL places cameras and conducts enforcement in other areas.

The hearing is expected to conclude on Wednesday, with the judgment to be delivered in the following weeks.

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