The controversial ULEZ scheme can now be expanded to the border of Surrey after a coalition of councils lost their High Court battle.
Surrey County Council, together with the outer London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon launched legal action in February over Sadiq Khan’s proposals to extend ULEZ beyond the North and South Circular roads.
The local authorities’ lawyers argued that the Labour mayor Sadiq Khan lacked the legal power to order the expansion.
Craig Howell Williams KC, for the councils, said there was an “unfair and unlawful” approach to collecting views on the plans and that “key information… was not disclosed” during previous consultation.
Today, July 28, the High Court ruled against them saying there was no legal impediment to the mayor’s expansion.
Councillor Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council said: “Whilst we respect today’s court decision, it is incredibly disappointing. This has always been about protecting Surrey residents, many of whom will now be significantly socially and financially impacted by the Mayor’s decision as they go about essential, everyday journeys, without any mitigation in place to minimise this.
“Our concerns, which have never been addressed by The Mayor despite our continued efforts, forced these legal proceedings to ensure we did all we possibly could to have the voice of our residents heard.
“We met with Transport for London on 14 July 2023 in the hope of agreeing mitigation for Surrey residents. Sadly, nothing was offered.”
The councils said that, while the Mayor of London and Transport for London may now have the legal right to impose the scheme, questions remained over whether the public would agree that he had the moral right to do so – particularly in light of the Uxbridge by-election which they said was a “referendum on the expansion of ULEZ”.
They argue that this shows a lack of realisation on the part of the Mayor of London and TfL over the “damage the extension will have to the lives of residents and businesses in outer London as well as those outside of its borders”.
According to the the Mayor’s office, air pollution causes thousands of Londoners to die prematurely each year and develop life-changing illnesses like cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.
Expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone across all London boroughs will bring clean air to 5 million more people, it said.
The expansion of ULEZ is now expected to go ahead as planned on Tuesday August 29.
People driving non-compliant vehicles in the zone are expected to be charged £12.50 per day.