High Court upholds ULEZ expansion: What next for the scheme?

High Court has ruled the ULEZ expansion in outer London boroughs legal, allowing the daily charge for highly polluting vehicles from 29th August

The High Court has upheld the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) to outer London boroughs, deeming it lawful.

The decision came after five Conservative-run councils initiated legal action against the expansion back in February.

In his ruling summary, Mr Justice Swift expressed his satisfaction with the mayor’s decision to expand the ULEZ area.

He stated that the mayor’s approach of amending the existing road charging scheme instead of creating an entirely new one fell within the scope of his powers.

Scheduled to take effect from 29th August, the scheme will enforce a daily charge of £12.50 on drivers of highly polluting vehicles.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed his satisfaction with the “landmark” verdict, emphasising that it paves the way for improving air quality in outer London.

Mr Khan said: “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.”

Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “Labour will take this as a win, but hardworking people will lose because Sadiq Khan does not care about hitting drivers with unneeded costs.

“Let’s see what kind of Leader Keir Starmer is. Time to get off the fence and tell your Mayor to do the right thing and stop the ULEZ expansion.”

In response to the news, Greenpeace UK’s Policy Director Doug Parr said: “Clean air is a basic human right and no one wants more traffic, toxic air pollution and the serious health problems that come with it.

“The ULEZ has been a huge success since its introduction, almost halving harmful air pollution in Central London, and its expansion is supported by a majority of Londoners. And as battery factories look to start up in the UK, the benefits of action like this for our future are clear.

“Those who feel that the ULEZ expansion is unfair should point the finger squarely at the government. Ministers rightly demand that legal limits for air pollution are met but have failed to adequately fund the car scrappage scheme.”

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