…By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Legal Battle Over London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone Expansion
The boroughs of Harrow, Hillingdon, Bexley, and Bromley, along with Surrey County Council, have united in their attempt to challenge the forthcoming expansion of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).
Khan aims to extend the zone to cover all 33 boroughs of the capital from August 29, including the area inside the North and South Circular roads.
If the expansion goes ahead, drivers of non-compliant vehicles will have to pay £12.50 per day to enter or drive within Greater London.
The legal challenge is driven by concerns from the councils that the Ulez expansion unfairly targets residents living in the outer boroughs, who have poorer public transport connections and rely more heavily on their cars.
They argue that low-income households, elderly residents, and local businesses will be disproportionately impacted by the Ulez as it functions as a tax on life in outer London.
The case is being defended on Khan’s behalf by Transport for London (TfL) lawyers, as the mayor was not present in court.
The five councils are challenging the legality of the expansion plans, asserting that Khan exceeded his powers in setting out the plans.
They claim that Khan failed to allow drivers living on the outskirts of London to access his £110 million scrappage scheme and that TfL did not provide adequate data from its number plate-reading cameras to accurately assess the impact of the Ulez on different motorists.
The outcome of the judicial review will determine whether the Ulez expansion can proceed as planned or face potential delays.
If the challenge is unsuccessful, the expansion will proceed at the end of next month.
However, a victory for the councils could result in a delay of several weeks or months, as Khan might be required to re-consult Londoners, turning next year’s mayoral elections into a de facto referendum on the Ulez.
The hearing is expected to last for two days, with a judgement to be delivered in the coming weeks.
The court’s decision will have significant implications for London’s efforts to tackle air pollution and reduce emissions in the city.
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