Court of Appeal to hear very low emission zone challenge – BBC News

A judicial review of Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be conducted in the High Court.

Five Conservative-led councils – Bexley, Bromley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey – have launched legal action over the scheme, which is set to cover all of London from the end of August.

They say it will have a huge financial impact on riders.

London’s Mayor of Labor said the scheme was necessary to tackle air pollution.

“An independent assessment confirms that the ULEZ is functional and the expansion will get five million more Londoners to breathe cleaner air,” he told Reuters news agency.

“You’re not going to please people 100% of the time,” he adds. “No politician in history has done that.”

The ULEZ scheme requires people driving non-compliant, or more polluting, vehicles to pay a daily fee of £12.50 on the day they drive within London. Drivers could face a £160 fine if they don’t pay.

The majority of cars driven in London meet ULEZ standards.

The zone currently covers all parts of the city between the North and South circular roads, but the mayor of London previously announced it would be expanded to cover the entire capital from 29 August.

Non-compliant heavy trucks, buses, coaches and vans are charged £100 under the segregated low emission zone scheme, which already covers most of London.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Paul Osborn, leader of the Conservative Council of Harrow, said authorities believed the expansion would have a “devastating impact on Harrow’s poorest motorists”.

“People doing low paying jobs at antisocial hours, they have no alternative to public transport. They are being asked to pay £12.50 each day to go to work and if they work past midnight they are being asked to pay £25 because they have to pay for it for the next day as well,” he said.

He added that the money spent on the thousands of cameras installed across London could be better spent expanding scrappage schemes.

On what basis is a judicial review conducted?

Initially, the five London outer councils argued there were five grounds for reconsideration, but in April, the High Court ruled that there was sufficient evidence on three of them.

This is too large an extension and should be treated as a new scheme; the consultation was flawed, according to the council, not disclosing important information.

A third reason is not considering the potential inclusion of those living outside London and adjacent zones in the new £110 million scrappage scheme. They are not entitled to any money from the fund.

Those who qualify can get up to £2,000 to dispose of a non-conforming car or up to £1,000 to dispose of a motorcycle. For wheelchair accessible vehicles there is a grant of up to £5000.

Hirra Khan Adeogun, head of Car Free Cities at Possible, a charity working for climate action, told the Today program that the lawsuit distracts from the main issues at play, air pollution and climate change.

“It is disgraceful to see these local authorities wasting taxpayer time and money trying to prolong the negative impacts of air pollution and the climate crisis,” he said.

“It’s critical that people outside of London get cleaner air and be part of a greener London and that includes poorer Londoners who are most at risk from toxic air.”


The majority of cars driven in London meet ULEZ requirements

The controversial scheme has sparked heated debate across the city, pitting mayors and health campaigners against those who say they cannot take another economic hit as long as costs soar.

Chris Fordham, who drives a wayward 2012 diesel van, said the planned expansion meant he was thinking about quitting his job, adding: “They’re hitting working class people again.”

But Jemima Hartshorn, founder of the campaign group Mums for Lungs and mother of a daughter with asthma, says it is often the poorest who suffer living on busy roadsides.

“It is very important that even in a cost of living crisis we don’t stop air pollution and allow more children to grow up unhealthy and unhealthy,” he said.

The hearing, before Mr Justice Swift, will start at 10:00 BST on Tuesday. The verdict is expected at a later date.

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