The challenge has been brought by four London borough councils (Hillingdon, Bexley, Bromley and Harrow) and Surrey county council. It concerns the controversial decision taken by the Mayor in November 2022 to expand the ULEZ so as to encompass the whole of outer London. The Mayor and Transport for London are seeking to implement the expansion on 29 August 2023, which will require any non-compliant vehicle to pay a £12.50 daily charge to enter the zone.
The High Court (Sir Ross Cranston sitting as a High Court Judge) granted permission on two grounds, summarised briefly:
1. That the introduction of the ULEZ expansion through a variation order to an existing charging order (as opposed to a new charging order) failed to comply with the statutory requirements of Schedule 23 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and/or frustrated the statutory purpose of that legislation.
2. That the Mayor’s decision was unlawful due to his having failed to take into account a material consideration, in that he failed to consider the potential for affected non-Londoners to be included in the new scrappage scheme mitigation. When the ULEZ was previously expanded from central to inner London, a scrappage scheme had applied to all Londoners, effectively applying a “buffer zone” of mitigation to those who lived outside the expanded ULEZ zone but were nonetheless affected by it. The Claimants argue that the Mayor failed to consider if the same approach should be taken in relation to the expansion to outer London.
The Claimants have also renewed their application for permission on further grounds, including: that the consultation process was unlawful due to how TfL presented the expected ULEZ compliance rate for outer London areas (which TfL had estimated at over 90% compliance); that the Mayor acted irrationally, and/or the consultation process was flawed, due to key details on the proposed scrappage scheme (which serves as a key mitigation for the impacts of the ULEZ scheme) being unknown; and, that the Mayor’s decision met the test for apparent predetermination, having regard to all the circumstances and in particular how the consultation was managed.
Some related news coverage can be found here: