THE coalition of councils opposed to expansion of the ULEZ emission zone to outer London remained optimistic of success on the first day of its legal challenge.

Representatives from the five councils – Hillingdon, Harrow, Bexley, Bromley and Surrey – met on the steps of the High Court in London today (4), ahead of the opening day of a Judicial Review against TfL and the Mayor of London over planned expansion of ULEZ.

The coalition’s case, led by Hillingdon, will be argued on three grounds:

Failure to follow statutory procedure - Schedule 23 Greater London Authority Act 1999

Unlawful and unfair consultation regarding expected compliance rates in outer London

Unlawfulness regarding the scrappage scheme, including failing to consider a buffer zone, irrationality and inadequate consultation.

As it stands, anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle in the expanded zone from Tuesday, August 29, stands to be charged £12.50 per day - whether the journey is a 30-mile commute, or a short trip for groceries.

Cllr Ian Edwards, leader of Hillingdon Council, said: “We believe we can win this. The fact the court has granted us permission to challenge on three grounds gives us confidence they also see the flaws in TfL and the Mayor’s proposals.

“Quite simply, with the harm our local economies face from the effects of the proposed expansion, we can’t afford not to fight them.

“So, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Surrey, whose small businesses, low-income earners, vulnerable people and ordinary workers like ours, all face being financially crippled by this ill-conceived scheme.

“We fully support measures to further improve air quality in our borough, but this is not the right scheme and not delivered in the right way for Hillingdon. We trust the court will see that and rule appropriately.”

The hearing is scheduled to last for two days, with a ruling from the judge expected to follow before the end of the month.