In a landmark ruling, the High Court in the UK has upheld the legality of London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) expansion, which is set to cover nearly all areas within the Greater London boundary starting in August 2023.
The expansion plans faced challenges from four London boroughs and Surrey County Council, who raised objections and took the matter to the High Court. However, Judge Mr Justice Swift ruled in favor of the ULEZ expansion, asserting that the mayor’s decision to implement the extended zone was legally sound and consistent with previous decisions related to the ULEZ and congestion charge.
As a result of the ruling, the ULEZ will proceed with its planned extension on 29 August 2023, significantly expanding its coverage area.
In response to concerns raised by the opposition, Mayor Khan announced the expansion of the scrappage scheme to encompass nearly one million families receiving child benefits and all small businesses with up to 50 employees. The measure aims to offer support and incentives for those affected by the ULEZ expansion.
However, the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, won by the Conservative Party recently, led to claims by Labour leader Keir Starmer that the ULEZ was responsible for their loss. Reflecting on the outcome, he emphasised the need for introspection regarding the ULEZ’s implications.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) shared concerns about the ULEZ and similar clean air zone policies, labeling them as poorly designed initiatives that have been problematic for the industry. While recognising the importance of achieving net-zero emissions, the RHA called for greater clarity, collaboration, certainty, and investment from various stakeholders, including government departments.
The RHA highlighted that alternative methods exist to achieve environmental benefits, such as increased investment in engine standards and alternative fuels, which have already contributed to an 85% reduction in pollution levels from lorries since 2013.