London ULEZ expansion is ‘good news’, says Sadiq Khan

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The zone will expand as planned on 29 August 2023

The major of London Sadiq Khan is celebrating after the High Court dismissed a legal challenge against the expansion of the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).

Khan told the BBC: “This landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London.”

Five councils had opposed the expansion, arguing that the mayor failed to consult with those affected by the changes, overstepped his powers, and had delivered a flawed scrappage scheme.

But the judge, Mr Justice Swift, ruled in the mayor’s favour, writing: “Having carefully considered the decision published for the purposes of consultation, I’m satisfied sufficient information was provided to permit this wanting to respond to the consultation to provide informed responses. 

“I’m further satisfied that when taking the decision on the grant to meet the cost of the vehicle scrappage scheme, the mayor understood the likely provision that would be made. 

“While the consultation conducted was not in-depth, it was lawful.”

The current ULEZ covers the are between the North and South Circular roads, but from 29 August it will spread across Greater London, to include Hillingdon in the west, Enfield in the north, Havering in the east, and Croydon and Bromley in the south.

It means that drivers of vehicles that do not meet the ULEZ emissions standards face a daily charge of £12.50 to drive into the zone. The major says “nine out of ten cars seen driving in outer London on an average day already meet the ULEZ standards,” but the expansion is likely to affect hundreds of independent garages which service and repair older vehicles.

Last year, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) surveyed its members with the M25 motorway and found that 95 percent did not support the proposal. Some 88 percent felt that the expansion would have an adverse effect on their business, while 86 percent warned that it lead to job losses.

At the time, Stuart James, IGA chief executive said: “While the IGA agrees that it is vital to improve air quality, tackle the climate emergency and reduce traffic congestion across Greater London, we feel strongly that now is not the right time to impose a £12.50 per day cost onto small local businesses and low-income households.

“Our members overwhelmingly feel that extending the ULEZ would negatively affect their business and customers, to the point where some are worried that they will not be able to afford to keep their business trading.

Is your garage affected by the ULEZ expansion? Are you concerned about a similar scheme coming to your town or city? Share your comments below.

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