Sadiq Khan 'lacks the legal powers' to expand London's ULEZ, High Court told

4 July 2023, 19:48

Five Tory councils are challenging Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion in the High Court
Five Tory councils are challenging Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion in the High Court. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Sadiq Khan does not have the legal powers to expand London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), the High Court was told today.

The Mayor of London is facing a legal challenge from five Tory councils, who have questioned Mr Khan's use of data in justifying the ULEZ expansion.

They include four London councils - Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon - as well as Surrey Council Council, who say there was a "lack of consultation" in expanding the zone.

The Mayor of London announced in November that from August 29 this year, the ULEZ zone will cover the whole of London.

Speaking the High Court today, Craig Howell Williams KC, acting for the councils, argued that Mr Khan was creating a "master charging scheme" for the capital city.

'ULEZ expansion will disproportionately most vulnerable people in this city’ says Samuel Kasumu

Mr Khan's legal team insisted the ULEZ expansion was lawful, reiterating Mr Khan's assertion that the expansion will improve air quality in London.

Transport for London (TfL) says around 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans that use London's roads everyday be liable for the £12.50 fee.

The zone currently covers the area between London's North and South Circular roads.

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That means drivers in areas in outer London, such as Bromley, Kingston-upon-Thames and Hounslow, for example, do not face the £12.50 fee.

But if the expansion is deemed lawful, the zone will expand by more than three times.

Its new borders will reach areas outside of London, including Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.

Audience member condemns the mayor for ‘making cuts to bus lanes and expand the ULEZ’

The High Court also heard today that 90 per cent of cars in outer London already comply with ULEZ cameras, but that this data was based on data from just 106 cameras.

According to Mr Williams, this data should have been included in the consultation last year.

"This is key information which was not available," he told the High Court.

Despite the legal challenge, Mr Khan has remained adamant that he will push on with expanding the ULEZ, including as he was heckled at the State of London debate - hosted by LBC's James O'Brien.

"Each year, in our city, around 4,000 people die prematurely, directly, because of air pollution," Mr Khan told the Indigo2 audience on Thursday night.

"There are children in our city with stunted lungs, permanently, because of air pollution."

The hearing is expected to conclude on Wednesday. A ruling will be given at a later date.

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