A High Court challenge brought by five Conservative councils – including Hillingdon and Harrow – to prevent the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has failed.
Last year, Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans to expand ULEZ to cover the whole of Greater London, meaning drivers of cars that fail to meet emission and safety standards set by Transport for London will have to pay a £12.50 fee per day to enter the Greater London Authority boundary from August 29.
Today (Friday, July 28), a judge ruled that the plan is lawful.
Mayor Khan said: “This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London on August 29.
“The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.
“The ULEZ has already reduced toxic nitrogen dioxide air pollution by nearly half in central London and a fifth in inner London. The coming expansion will see five million more Londoners being able to breathe cleaner air.
“This unambiguous decision today in the High Court allows us to press on with the difficult but vital task of cleaning up London’s air and tackling the climate crisis.”
Councillor Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “I am hugely disappointed for our residents and businesses and I call on the Mayor of London to further reflect on his plans.
“Even the Mayor’s own supporters are now saying that it is the wrong time to be expanding this scheme. Many thousands of low-income earners, vulnerable people ordinary workers and small businesses who are the beating heart of our borough will have to shoulder further costs which they cannot afford. It will cause even greater financial hardship and for some it will cause the loss of business or employment.
“We will continue our fight on behalf of our residents and business through Parliament and at next year’s Mayoral election.
“I am proud that we had the courage and conviction to stand up for our residents and businesses and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in or who has sent messages of support for our fight which, as I have said, will go on.”
Councillor Paul Osborn, Leader of Harrow Council, said: “This is not the outcome we were hoping for and is hugely disappointing. It is a sad day for our residents and businesses who are worried about the impact the expansion will have on them when it comes into force in August.
“I firmly believe that ULEZ expansion is the wrong scheme for outer London. We had an arguable case, and the fact that we got this far in our challenge against this unpopular scheme shows that we were right to proceed.
“I am proud to have stood up for our residents and businesses. So many have spoken to me about how this scheme will impact them. I’d like to thank the thousands of people who have supported us.
“Unfortunately, the Mayor will push ahead with his plans. I will continue to speak up for our residents on the expansion of the ULEZ and will press the government to give us the power to stop this expansion to our borough.
“I will also be lobbying for better schemes to further help improve air quality and public transport links in Harrow. I am already taking positive steps to improve air quality in our borough – this includes ensuring our fleet is as green as possible, and as of last night I approved plans to install 225 additional electric charging points to help our residents who want to switch to electric vehicles.
“I will always put our residents first on the issues that matter to them.”
Commenting following the judgment of the High Court this morning that the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone is lawful, councillor Richard Roberts, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council said: “I am hugely disappointed in the ruling of the Court and stand by my previous comments on the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone. This is the wrong scheme at the wrong time and will do nothing but penalise some of the lowest earners in society who need their older vehicles to travel to work, see friends and care for relatives.”
“The Mayor needs to go back to the drawing board with these proposals and produce a scheme that works for everyone, not just those living inside the M25 particularly as many Hertfordshire residents who will be impacted by the ULEZ continue to see their incomes squeezed by the rising cost of living.”