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"Upholding ULEZ good news for all cyclists": Cycling groups welcome High Court ruling ULEZ expansion as lawful

Other climate groups and clean air coalitions have also said that this is good news for Londoners who have to "breathe toxic fumes from too many vehicles"...

Cycling groups along with climate and clean air campaigns in the UK have welcomed the High Court's ruling of the ULEZ expansion into Greater London as lawful, claiming that the step will not only deliver cleaner air, but also encourage people to use environmentally-friendly transport alternatives and drive the switch away from relying on cars.

Mayor Sadiq Khan's proposed expansion of the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which he sees as "vital" to tackle air pollution from motor vehicles, at the end of August was deemed lawful by the High Court earlier today, after a legal challenge launched by five Conservative-led councils.

Motorists inside the extended zone will be charged £12.50 a day for driving non-compliant, high-polluting cars from August 29.

Many cycling campaigns, climate action groups and clean air coalitions are hoping that the move will encourage more people to switch their car journeys to cleaner alternatives, such as cycling, walking, or using public transport.

> Whose ULEZ is it anyway? Political chicanery as clean air zone set to expand to outer London

Simon Munk from London Cycling Campaign told road.cc: "It’s really good news that London’s ULEZ zone is now set to expand in August. London must act on pollution, at too high levels across the capital, and the expansion will be a positive step in not only delivering cleaner air but enabling people to use alternatives to cars.

"The legal action came primarily from councils that are among those who have done least on delivering action on air quality, climate emissions and walking, cycling and wheeling, and the legal arguments they put forward made little sense.

"We hope the leaders of the London boroughs involved reflect on what they have cost their own residents, and more, on how they now need to work with the rest of London on delivering cleaner air, lower emissions, and to enable residents to ditch car journeys whenever possible. ULEZ expanding is another step in the right direction for a healthier, cleaner, greener London."

Active travel charity Sustrans also supported the High Court ruling, with Sustrans London Director, James Cleeton saying that it would be "great to see more energy from councils put into constructively working with the Mayor to improve public transport, increase public green space and come up with smart ideas that would reduce harmful vehicle pollution fairly for the benefit of everyone".   

He added: "No responsible government at local, regional or national level, can let a situation continue where children, who have no voice in this debate, suffer stunted lungs and 4,000 people die prematurely each year because the air in London is so dirty, falling well short of World Health Organisation guidelines.

"It is for the people we elect to make these difficult decisions for the benefit of the whole population and our support is with those leaders who persevere with creating a healthier city."

Donnachadh McCarthy, Director Climate Media Coalition, also said that this step would help poorer people switch away from cars and adopt less polluting options, citing transport as the single largest source of pollution in the UK.

McCarthy told road.cc: "The London Mayor promised to clean up London's air when elected.

"So the High Court upholding ULEZ is good news for all people cycling, walking or using public transport in London who have to breathe toxic fumes from too many vehicles, when cycling to school, hospital or work. It is also good news for London's 500,000 asthmatics."

Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, told road.cc: "The court’s decision to uphold Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to expand ULEZ is a win for everyone who breathes London’s air. Efforts to restrain car use often meet with resistance before they’re implemented yet are popular once in place.

"ULEZ is a life-saving scheme that will cut pollution from dirty cars and vans in the capital, while compensating those least able to switch. We urge politicians of all parties to back cleaner air and to promote safe and healthy alternatives such as cycling, not just in London but throughout the UK."

Mayor Khan's ULEZ has become a chief source of contention among the city's locals, and with his push to expand the zone to the capital's peripheries and surrounding boroughs, he even came under fire from his party's leader.

After what many saw as a surprise defeat for Labour in Uxbridge & South Ruislip's by-elections last week, Sir Keir Starmer had put pressure on Khan to "rethink" the expansion.

> Sadiq Khan is “treating Londoners with complete and utter contempt” over ULEZ expansion, says London Assembly member

However, data released today shows that 58 per cent of residents in inner London support ULEZ, which has been in place since 2019.

Ironically, for all the backlash Khan has faced since then, the plans for the ULEZ were initially introduced in 2015 by then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson. However, the former leader of the Conservative Party has changed his stance since then, calling the expansion "unneccesary" and labelling it a "mad lefty tax" designed to "rake in money from hard-pressed motorists".

The judicial review on which the High Court ruled today got underway earlier this month after the five Conservative-controlled councils of Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Harrow, and Hillingdon, along with Surrey Council, launched an appeal, publicly declaring that they would "do everything in our power to stop it from going ahead".

In his verdict today, Justice Swift said that the ULEZ expansion was "sound" and in line with previous decision on motor vehicle-related charging within the capital.

Swift added that he was "satisfied" that the mayor’s decision "was within his powers", and that the consultation on the scrappage scheme was "not in depth" but was "lawful".

> Sadiq Khan claims anti-ULEZ protests infiltrated by Nazis, says opponents have joined hands with far-right groups

Immediately after the verdict, Khan announced that he was proceeding with the expansion, due to come into effect from August 29. He released a statement saying: "The decision to expand the ULEZ was very difficult and not something I took lightly and I continue to do everything possible to address any concerns Londoners may have.

"I've been listening to Londoners throughout the ULEZ rollout, which is why from next week I am expanding the scrappage scheme to nearly a million families who receive child benefit and all small businesses with up to fifty employees. I will continue to look at new ideas to support Londoners."

He continued: "Nine out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant so won't pay a penny – yet will still see the benefits of cleaner air. Air pollution is an urgent public health crisis – our children are growing up with stunted lungs and it is linked to a host of serious conditions, from heart disease to cancer and dementia.

"This unambiguous decision today in the High Court allows us to press on with the difficult but vital task of cleaning up London's air and tackling the climate crisis."

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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40 comments

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Hirsute | 4 months ago
1 like

Eligibility for a scrappage scheme has been extended to more people ahead of the expansion the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to all of London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said all Londoners will be able to access up to £2,000 to replace non-compliant cars.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-66398942

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Hirsute | 4 months ago
2 likes

Mosque visits exempt !

//pbs.twimg.com/media/F2gasD4W8AA-h9_?format=jpg&name=small)

 

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chrisonatrike replied to Hirsute | 4 months ago
2 likes

Never been a better time to stay away from Twitter etc!

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eburtthebike | 4 months ago
3 likes

Problem solved!  Rishi's just approved another hundred plus drilling licences for the North Sea, so we can scrap the ULEZ and go back to the gas guzzlers.

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Rich_cb replied to eburtthebike | 4 months ago
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Much better to import the stuff at more than double the carbon footprint...

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rich_cb | 4 months ago
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Not that we probably could get all our gas from Norway due to supply and demand, but if we could they drill and send gas at a significantly less CO2 then we do just supplying our own. 

But if we replaced LNG then yes, the statement you made would be true (even more so). If all of these licenses (how big a tax break are they getting, surely they make a massive profit anyway to invest?) have stipulations that all new rigs need to ban flaring AND be connected to the electricity grid rather then self powered, then we could massively reduce the CO2 emissions from the fuel. Of course we could have been stipulating both of those practices for ages but profits....
 

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Oldfatgit replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 4 months ago
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Are these for gas?

Bear in mind that no new build domestic housing in England will be fitted with a gas boiler from 2025; no new build of any use in Scotland from 2024.
Hundreds of I&C gas users are having their gas meters removed on a daily basis freeing up capacity in the network (which unlike electric, has been modernised and upgraded over the last 40 years).
Many large council consumers (such as Leeds City for example) are removing gas from their buildings and moving to District Heating systems where possible, solar and heat pumps where its not.

We are a nation being forced in to single fuel reliance... so if it is gas, where will this gas be going?

It should also be remembered that UK North Sea gas and oil is less competitive than say Norwegian, as the UK placed a fixed tax levvie at 75% (I think it was); Norways levvie is a sliding scale based on the global price per barrel - so the less the oil is selling for, the less tax is paid. Unlike the UK ...

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Rendel Harris replied to Oldfatgit | 4 months ago
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Oil and gas. Although domestic gas use is being discouraged it's going to be a  long time before all the gas boilers and cookers disappear, plus 38% of our energy generation last year came from gas-fired power stations (often from "peaking plants" that Hunt specifically exempted from windfall taxes). 

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Oldfatgit replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
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Yes, agreed that it will be along time before gas disappears.

However, what I am seeing is the rates of gas meter removal far outstrip the rate of new gas services being installed ... therefore the capacity surplus that is not being utilised is increasing daily.

So ... where is all this gas going to go?

It should also be remembered that hydrogen - in its many guises - is still the preferred replacement to NG by industry. The electric car and heatpump lobby (two separate groups) have successfully blindsided the government in to an 'electric is best' policy, despite the cost to existing households of around £10 - £25k to convert to solar and / or heatpump (even if their property is not suitable), as opposed to the estimated cost of around £5k per existing household using gas to convert to a Hydrogen solution.
Note the subtle difference there.

It should also be remembered that gas peaking plants exist because the electricity network is old and cannot cope with the current (pun intended) demand, let alone the increase in demand placed by the withdrawal of gas, and increased electricity consumption.

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Rich_cb replied to Oldfatgit | 4 months ago
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The problem with (green) hydrogen is that it will require a huge amount of electricity to produce it.

Far more electricity than would be required to run heat pumps or electric boilers.

If we don't have enough electricity for heat pumps then we're even further from having enough electricity for hydrogen.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Oldfatgit | 4 months ago
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I was looking at gas mainly although the flaring is usually on Oil production, it is the same gas that would be used for Gas production so the Norwegians went "why waste it" and instead saved it for use.

As Rendel mentioned, we still have gas fired power plants and there are also loads of need for gas fired furnaces in metal production (from experience) and other manufacturing as well which electricity electric furnaces can't replace well.

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Rich_cb replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 4 months ago
1 like

I don't think it's feasible for Norway to supply anymore of our gas than they already do especially given that the whole of Europe are desperate for supplies.

Our own gas will displace LNG so will reduce emissions. I don't know how practical it is to connect an oil rig to the grid, I think they're looking at the possibilities of linking them to wind farms but it's not a straightforward thing.

Flaring should be minimised but the global pressure to ban flaring has led to a huge increase in venting which has led to an increase in equivalent emissions. Law of unintended consequences and all that.

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brooksby | 4 months ago
4 likes

Sunak orders review of LTNs

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-66351785

Quote:

Mr Sunak said: "The vast majority of people in the country use their cars to get around and are dependent on cars.

"I just want to make sure people know that I'm on their side in supporting them to use their cars to do all the things that matter to them," he said.

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
12 likes
brooksby wrote:

Sunak orders review of LTNs

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-66351785

Quote:

Mr Sunak said: "The vast majority of people in the country use their cars to get around and are dependent on cars.

"I just want to make sure people know that I'm on their side in supporting them to use their cars to do all the things that matter to them," he said.

Okay, can everyone please stop voting for the car obsessed Tories?

It's almost as though he and his family directly benefit from oil company profits

https://bylinetimes.com/2022/07/19/rishi-sunaks-family-profiting-from-ties-to-oil-giant-shell/

 

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chrisonatrike replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
4 likes

Yeah - only hope they don't wreck too many of the fairly moderate sensible longer-term commitments (that they're already not likely to fully achieve) as they flail about trying not to lose the next election.

Starmer's crew hardly seem like they'd bring back any climate / environment improvement measures that the government throw in the bonfire. On current form I wouldn't expect more for active travel than the current lot either. Can't be seen to be limiting the rights of the working man / middle England to drive around just as much as the Etonians.

Anyone know different?

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brooksby replied to chrisonatrike | 4 months ago
9 likes

In the Grauniad article on the same matter, Sunak is quoted as "accusing Labour of being anti-car". More and more, it looks like the Tories would throw anyone and anything under the diesel powered bus if it means that they get to stay in power and rule over a scorched little patch of earth.

(Hey - Does anyone remember what happened to Prince Charles? Wasn't he supposed to be all eco friendly? I wonder if he could help...)

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
9 likes

"I just don't understand why people think LTNs are necessary. My house isn't in an LTN and we don't have any problems with traffic at all..."

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perce replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
3 likes

Him and his wife have had to move out of Buck House while renovations are carried out. 369 million quids worth of renovations. If he sold one of the paintings from his basement art gallery which very few members of the public will ever get to see it would probably cover the cost, but I don't think he will. On the plus side more and more food banks are opening up all the time. Happy days.

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chrisonatrike replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
5 likes

You shouldn't compare apples and prescriptions, but it's hard to avoid the temptation when media + politicians leads to gross simplification distorting things out of recognition (eg. ignoring that LTNs do not stop you driving to where you want, that the ULEZ expansion won't mean *any* change for 90% of people, failing to question whether we should maintain the status quo if it's harmful etc.) :

Sunak orders review of air filters

Mr Sunak said: "The vast majority of people in the country use their cigarettes to get through the day and are dependent on nicotine."

"I just want to make sure people know that I'm on their side in supporting them to use tobacco to do all the things that matter to them, including smoking in public places, schools and hospitals" he said.

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Oldfatgit replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
4 likes

And in the meantime, us North of the border are likely to be penalised for having an existing gas central heating system.

You can't make this shit up ... Us up north have to freeze so you lot down south can still run your cars.

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hawkinspeter replied to Oldfatgit | 4 months ago
3 likes
Oldfatgit wrote:

And in the meantime, us North of the border are likely to be penalised for having an existing gas central heating system.

You can't make this shit up ... Us up north have to freeze so you lot down south can still run your cars.

No, it's all about FREEDOM!

There's nothing wrong with southerners exercising their freedom to drive around wherever they want. It's not as though they're harming anyone (except for the RTCs and the excessive air pollution and the lack of safety for anyone else to use the public roads).

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
6 likes

There's nothing wrong with southerners exercising their freedom to drive around wherever they want. It's not as though they're harming anyone (except for the RTCs and the excessive air pollution and the lack of safety for anyone else to use the public roads)
Quite right! Apart from Brexit, Truss and Kwarteng crashing the economy overnight, encouraging Climate Change, Sunak supporting his Chelsea Tractor-driving pals with anti-cyclist, pro-pollution propaganda, the Lawson Boom and all the stuff referred to here, what harm have the Tories ever done to us?!

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 4 months ago
5 likes
wtjs wrote:

what harm have the Tories ever done to us?!

Water company privitisation?

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eburtthebike replied to wtjs | 4 months ago
3 likes
wtjs wrote:

........what harm have the Tories ever done to us?!

Since their inception, or just the last thirteen years?  Either way, the list is far too long for a page of these proportions.

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Cugel replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

No, it's all about FREEDOM!

There's nothing wrong with southerners exercising their freedom to drive around wherever they want. It's not as though they're harming anyone (except for the RTCs and the excessive air pollution and the lack of safety for anyone else to use the public roads).

Toryspiv and similar fungal diseases of the body-politic greatly enjoy their freedumbs to rot their various victims; and the place in general, as they believe that this proves Darwin would approve of them, especially if they can get red teeth and claws too. Blood on the bumper - a sure sign of rightful dominance; only the selfish gene-goon at its essential work!

Mind, if a cyclist should bruise their prattler-holding arm as they lurch back to their car where they parked it on a once-playing toddler or, worserer, scratch the paint of their murder-chariot as it weaves unpredictabley in and out of "the cycle lane" - well, chase them down and crush them, at least twice. No comment, yer 'onour .....  but MY FREEDUMB!!!!

Personally I hope for that Muskrat to come alone with tickets for Mars, free to every do-wot-I-liker everywhere. Let them all roar about the red plains and fight each other for the oxygen, such as it is. (The tickets will surey be one-way, won't they)?

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 4 months ago
4 likes

A search of ltns showed a road cc article from August 22 where reviewing ltns was part of his leadership bid.
He didn't get elected leader, so what is the mandate ?

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Fignon's ghost | 4 months ago
3 likes

We love you ULEZ, we do...!

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IanMK | 4 months ago
2 likes
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Steve K | 4 months ago
6 likes

My Conservative MP (Paul Scully) is tying himself in knots saying that ULEZ was absolutely nothing to do with the Conservatives.  Apparently Schapps's letter telling Khan to "urgently bring forward proposals to widen the scope and levels of these charges" wasn't telling him to expand ULEZ at all.  His analogy was asking three electricians for quotes - because (in Paul Scully's world) you do that when you have no intention of getting any electrical work done.

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IanMK replied to Steve K | 4 months ago
2 likes

They all know that once it's been introduced there's no going back. Tory policy seems to be that it's not the wrong policy but the wrong time for it. Even if they win the mayoral election next year the money will be already factored into the budget so it's difficult to undo.

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