Councils lose High Court challenge against expansion of Ulez in London

The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon and Surrey County Council took legal action against mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans.

A group of five Conservative-led councils have lost their High Court challenge against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand the capital’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez).

The outer London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon along with Surrey County Council launched legal action in February over the Labour mayor’s proposals to extend Ulez beyond the North and South Circular roads.

At a hearing earlier this month, the local authorities’ lawyers said the mayor lacked the legal power to order the expansion of the zone by varying existing regulations and argued that there was an “unfair and unlawful” approach to collecting views on the plans.

The mayor’s legal team rejected the bid to quash his November 2022 decision to extend Ulez to all of London’s boroughs, arguing the move was “entirely lawful” and that “ample information” was provided for a “fair consultation”.

Eid in the Square 2023
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans would see Ulez extended to all of the capital’s boroughs (James Manning/PA)

In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Swift dismissed the councils’ case.

If it goes ahead, the extended Ulez will see drivers in outer London pay a £12.50 daily fee from August 29 if their vehicles do not meet the required emissions standards.

The new borders will reach Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.

Friday’s ruling comes in the wake of last week’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip parliamentary by-election, where Labour’s failure to win ex-prime minister Boris Johnson’s seat was blamed on concerns around the expansion of Ulez.

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