London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s proposed ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) extension is under threat after the Supreme Court ruled today that a challenge could go to court.
Five councils that have started the legal battle – Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey – have been allowed to proceed with their cases for judicial review.
The Ulez Zone currently covers the area within the North and South Circular roads, but the Mayor plans to extend it to the whole of Greater London on August 29.
However, this could now be in jeopardy – with a trial set to take place in July. A Conservative MP hailed today’s decision as an “important step forward” in the protest.
The five councils succeeded in moving the case forward after the Supreme Court ruled that two of the allegations have sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) currently covers the area within the North and South Circular Roads, but the Mayor plans to extend it to the whole of Greater London on August 29.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, pictured at London’s Piccadilly on March 21, has claimed Nazis infiltrated demonstrations against his extension of the Ulez to all of Greater London
These are that no legal procedures were followed and no consideration was given to the possibility of including non-London residents in a new scrapping scheme.
Nick Rogers, transport spokesman for the City Hall Conservatives, told MailOnline: ‘The Supreme Court has now ruled that there is sufficient evidence that Sadiq Khan’s Ulez decision may have been illegal.
“The mayor clearly doesn’t have the legal grounds to go ahead with his Ulez tax schemes, which take money from charities, small businesses and low-income Londoners who can’t afford a new car. Sadiq Khan must do the right thing, immediately stop working on his Ulez expansion and explain his actions to the court.”
Under the policy, owners of non-compliant vehicles pay £12.50 per day to drive within the zone.
The plan has proved hugely controversial amid claims it does little to improve air quality and will have a serious impact on families and merchants in need of cars.
Even some London Labor MPs have opposed it, warning it could see key workers and others dependent on their vehicles praised out of the city.
Gareth Bacon, the Conservative MP for Orpington, said today: “While the full court case has yet to be fought, today’s decision is an important step forward.”
He added: “Sadiq Khan arrogantly rejected this legal challenge, as if ignoring Londoners’ concerns during the consultation.
Protesters demonstrate against the Ulez extension on London’s Whitehall on March 18
Another protest against the Ulez extension in London’s Trafalgar Square on Feb. 25
He was wrong to do that, and this should be a wake-up call. He still has time to cancel the Ulez extension and save residents his £12.50 daily road tax.’
Louie French, Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, tweeted that the Supreme Court decision was a “big first win!” was, and added, “#Khanmustgo.”
The five boroughs launched the judicial review on February 16, following Transport for London’s announcement last November that Ulez would expand.
The first bottleneck with regard to ‘legal procedures’ is how the mayor wants to expand Ulez by varying the existing regulation.
This was done under Schedule 23 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, which allows the creation of ‘charge schedules’.
However, the councils indicated that this could change such a scheme, the proposed changes are so significant that it amounts to an entirely new scheme.
The second point relates to the proposed £110 million scrappage scheme, which provides for financial support to help eligible Londoners scrap their most polluting vehicles in preparation for the Ulez expansion.
The councils claimed that details of the arrangement will only become available after his decision to expand Ulez and were not subject to prior consultation.
They add that there was no consultation on the decision to offer the scheme only to those living in London.
Mr Khan has sparked great controversy with his plans for the expansion of Ulez and has even claimed that Nazis have infiltrated protests against it.
The mayor said last month that “anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers, conspiracy theorists and Nazis” had joined “decent Tories” in opposing the extension.
Mr Khan also sparked anger after labeling some of Ulez’s opponents as ‘far right’ at a public rally at Ealing Town Hall last month, where he was harassed.
Former London mayor and prime minister Boris Johnson has also expressed fears over the plans, saying Mr Khan will ‘hit hard-working families and businesses in London’s suburbs with an unfair tax grab’.