Mayor brands Tories’ Ulez expansion court challenge ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’

Conservative councils who have launched a High Court challenge against Sadiq Khan’s plan to expand London’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez) are wasting taxpayers’ money, the capital’s mayor has said.

Mr Khan said London residents would prefer their payments to be invested in libraries instead.

If it goes ahead, Ulez will see drivers in outer London pay a £12.50 daily fee from August 29 if their vehicles do not meet the required emissions standards.

The outer London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon along with Surrey County Council launched legal action in February over the proposed extension of Ulez beyond the North and South Circular roads.

A judge at the High Court this week decided their bid for a judicial review can go ahead, saying parts of the local authorities’ challenge were “arguable”.

Speaking on Friday about the legal action, Mr Khan said: “I think it’s important for these Conservative councillors who’ve got concerns… if they want to challenge this in the courts (they) are free to do so – I think it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. Local residents would rather these be used on the libraries.”

He added: “I welcome the fact that the vast majority of their grounds have been thrown out of the court. The two minor grounds will be heard by the court in a couple of months and TfL will be robustly defending this case.

“I want to see improved air in all parts of London, for those five million Londoners in outer London who are currently breathing air that is leading to children with stunted lungs, adults with a whole host of health issues from asthma to cancer, dementia to heart disease.

“And also, for the 10 boroughs with the biggest number of premature deaths caused by air pollution in outer London, I want to clean up our air sooner, rather than later.

“So, for me human rights, rather than privilege.”

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