Coalition questions lawfulness of stealth installation of ULEZ cameras and signs
Thursday 30 March 2023: The Mayor of London is being called out for starting to install signs and ANPR cameras by stealth in the outer London boroughs which are challenging expansion of the ULEZ.
But while that challenge is yet to be heard in the courts, residents in the London boroughs have been dismayed to spot ULEZ signs and ANPR cameras popping up overnight without warning.
Some residents appear to have mistakenly assumed the appearance of the cameras - on local traffic light columns - was a sign that the boroughs have reneged on their position and cowed to the Mayor's will.
The coalition would like to make it abundantly clear, that this is not the case.
The four boroughs remain resolutely opposed to the proposed expansion and will not be doing anything to aid installation of ULEZ cameras or signage while their challenge remains unheard in the courts.
Furthermore, the coalition believes the very installation of these cameras and signs, with neither borough consent or notification is further indication of the Mayor's intent to ride roughshod over the outer boroughs.
Cllr Ian Edwards, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: "The installation of these cameras across Hillingdon shows a staggering level of contempt from the Mayor, not just for the feelings of residents who are overwhelmingly against his expansion proposals, but also for the pending legal challenge from the five boroughs.
"One of our grounds for challenge was that the outcome of last year's ULEZ consultation was predetermined. The appearance of these cameras is further evidence that for the Mayor this expansion proposal is a fait accompli.
"But this coalition will not flex to his will and questions the lawfulness of this installation by stealth of his cameras, which has understandably caused huge upset to residents who are relying on us to protect them from the financial devastation the ULEZ expansion would cause for so many families and businesses."
Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Baroness O'Neill of Bexley OBE, said: "We are furious that Transport for London are pushing ahead with their preparations for the expansion of the ULEZ when the legal challenge brought by this coalition of councils is being considered.
"The Mayor has ignored the wishes of those who contributed to the consultation, to those who voted in our elections last May, he's now ignoring these councils and showing contempt for the legal process that has not yet concluded.
"We understand that they are planning to install new and replacement signs in some parts of our borough this week.
"We know that local people and businesses will feel that their genuine concerns are once again being ignored by the Mayor of London. We want our residents to know that we are determined to continue our ULEZ battle."
Cllr Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, said: "The Mayor's desperate rush to install his tax raising cameras whilst legal process is underway is obviously disappointing, but not surprising, given the procurement of the cameras took place prior to TfL's flawed consultation last summer and his subsequent decision to then ignore its results anyway, with the vast majority of those who responded voting against his proposals.
"Our opposition to expanding ULEZ will not go away and I applaud our residents and others who continue to make their voices known, with the most recent local protest a few days ago in Orpington, following on from others in Bromley and Beckenham only weeks before.
"The very existence of some local businesses, local jobs and vital local care networks remain under severe threat due to his threat, at a time when some households are already struggling to make ends meet and this is battle that we really must win for all of those affected.
"I repeat that this is not about clean air in the outer 'London' suburbs; Bromley's air is only microscopically behind Havering as being London's cleanest by the Mayor's own research.
"This is about introducing a Road Price Charging network by stealth, without democratic input or debate, to then charge all road users whether you have a green, hybrid or petrol/diesel and I would urge everyone to wake up to that threat, before it's too late."
Cllr Paul Osborn, Leader of Harrow Council said: "We have not given permission for TfL to put up ULEZ cameras in Harrow and have refused to cooperate with TfL in their installation.
"Part of our legal challenge against ULEZ expansion is to have the cameras removed. To date, we understand that the cameras have been installed on traffic lights, which are owned by TfL.
"It is completely unfair to implement a scheme that will hit many of our residents who are already struggling with the rising cost of living. We will continue to stand up for our residents and remain opposed to this unpopular scheme."
A further complication for Hillingdon is that HS2 has begun installation of ANPR cameras at 15 locations to monitor its own lorry movements through the north of the borough. Despite these cameras being marked with 'HS2' signage, some residents have mistaken these for rollout of the ULEZ cameras. HS2 has given assurances these cameras will only track and hold data for its own vehicles.