Conservative-run Bromley Council has joined with a number of other outer London Boroughs in a legal challenge to the Mayor of London’s extension of the so-called Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which is set to take effect from August 2023.
In July 2022 the Mayor announced plans to extend the zone, which sees drivers of non-compliant vehicles charged £12.50 per day, to cover the whole of Greater London. The proposals were then put to a public consultation over the summer of 2022. The responses of the consultation, published in November 2022, showed that 60% of overall responses were against the extension, with 80% of Outer-London businesses also opposing the move. Despite this huge opposition, the Mayor announced he would be moving forward with the extension in August 2023.
Bromley and the other Councils have now launched a legal challenge to the decision and are seeking to examine the legal basis for the Mayor's decision. The vast majority of the roads in Outer London are managed by the Local Councils instead of Transport for London, leading to question whether the Mayor can impose a camera network on these roads without the Council’s consent.
In a statement released on Bromley.gov.uk, Leader of the Council, Colin Smith, explained:
“Our complete opposition and cynicism as to Mayor Khan’s rationale for expanding ULEZ is well documented. In light of the widespread ongoing public interest on related matters, I thought it might be helpful to outline the council’s latest position.
“The decision to blatantly ignore a significant majority opinion of Londoners who responded to TfL’s consultation exercise, based on the highly questionable, selective and incomplete findings of a research paper commissioned by TfL themselves, simply cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.
To that end Bromley Council, along with Bexley, Harrow and Hillingdon are currently examining the legal basis of the decision and have now formally served a Pre Action Protocol letter on the Mayor’s office and TfL seeking further information to demonstrate the lawfulness of the decision they have made.
“Whilst we all support the call for cleaner air, it should be noted from the latest authenticated data to hand that Bromley already has amongst the cleanest air in London and indeed, that Bromley’s air remains cleaner than that of any of the Boroughs already ensnared within the existing ULEZ scheme.
“It is also the case, that local asthma sufferers recorded the lowest incidence of attacks requiring hospital admission and long may that remain the case and improve upon further as drivers slowly but surely trade in or retire their petrol and diesel vehicles at the end of their serviceable, lives for Green and Hybrid vehicles.
“We all support that too, but it rather misses the point.
“The ‘scheme’ isn’t actually about air quality in the final analysis. The stealthy, unstated and cynical intention remains, under the guise of ULEZ, to erect a network of traffic cameras across the whole of the Capital which can then be used at the flick of a switch to introduce road price charging for all.
“Whether that is a good thing, or bad thing, clearly depends on your point of view, but it should at least be fully debated and publicly scrutinised as a policy initiative in its own right, rather than slyly slipped in through the back door under a false agenda as a fait accompli.”