Sadiq Khan faces chaos when signs for the Low Emission Zone are deemed illegal On the eve of ULEZ expansion.

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On the brink of the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), chaos ensues for Sadiq Khan as signs for the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), a related scheme, are deemed unlawful following legal action by a driver who contested fines amounting to £11,500. This development comes ahead of the contentious enlargement of the much-disliked ULEZ scheme scheduled for tomorrow.

Noel Willcox, a 48-year-old scaffolder from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, garnered fines due to his use of a company truck to commute to a depot in Harefield, North West London. Under the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), operators of heavily polluting vans and heavy goods vehicles are subject to charges of up to £300 per day or substantial penalties. Willcox opted to challenge the fines and brought his case to a tribunal, where the ruling favored him. The tribunal determined that Transport for London’s (TfL) signs for the LEZ were not “authorized and lawful.”

Willcox’s triumph, while not legally binding in other jurisdictions, could serve as a precedent in other similar cases. This perspective was shared by Nick Freeman, renowned as “Mr. Loophole,” a prominent motoring lawyer. TfL responded by asserting that the Department of Transport had deemed the signs lawful more than a decade ago. The organization acknowledged an ongoing investigation into why specific evidence was not presented.

The situation is further complicated by the impending launch of the Mayor of London’s controversial ULEZ expansion. This initiative will levy a daily charge of £12.50 on individuals driving older, more environmentally detrimental vehicles into the city. Reports have emerged that drivers are offering substantial sums, up to £100 per month, to residents along a “charge-free corridor” in order to utilize their driveways for parking. This corridor, located along Moor Lane in Chessington, south-west London, enables drivers to avoid the ULEZ charge. Those who venture off the designated route will immediately fall within the ULEZ boundaries and be subject to the fee if their vehicles fail to meet emissions standards.

Additionally, six of the seven neighboring local authorities bordering London have declined to enter into a legal agreement with TfL to allow ULEZ signs within their areas. These councils, led by the Conservative Party and encompassing Surrey, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Thurrock, are vocal about the financial repercussions ULEZ will impose on their residents, leading to this coordinated protest.

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