A court has ruled that the controversial plan to expand the ULEZ (Ultra low emission zone) in London can proceed as planned.

The London mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend the zone to all of Greater London had been opposed by five Conservative councils in the capital. They had requested a judicial review, arguing that the Labour mayor had exceeded his powers in expanding the scheme. ULEZ was a key issue in the recent Uxbridge by-election, which saw the Conservative candidate hold onto the seat vacated by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who developed the initial ULEZ scheme during his time as Mayor of London.

Mr Justice Swift ruled that the mayor acted within his powers by amending the current ULEZ scheme. The expanded zone will come into force on August 29th.

The ULEZ has been in operation within Inner London (an area encompassed by the North and South Circular roads) since October 2021, charging non-compliant vehicles £12.50 per day for driving within the zone. Transport for London (TfL) estimate that around 90% of vehicles that travel within the ULEZ do comply with the emissions rules. Since the initial introduction of the zone in April 2019, nitrogen dioxide air pollution has reduced by 50% in Central London and by 20% in Inner London.

The proposed expansion of ULEZ to all 32 London boroughs was a controversial decision, and in a recent poll 60% of the general public said they were against the move, and many fear it will hit those on low incomes the most.

Sadiq Khan welcomed the court ruling, saying the “landmark decision is good news as it means we can proceed with cleaning up the air in outer London. Nine out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are already compliant so won’t pay a penny,” he said.