Judge throws out Khan's Streetspace scheme

21/01/2021
Chris Ames

The High Court has overturned London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace for London Plan, which was introduced in May last year in response to the pandemic.

Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the mayor and Transport for London (TfL) acted unlawfully in their treatment of licensed taxis.

The judgement results from a judicial review mounted by the London taxi trade, concerning a specific Streetspace scheme, the A10 Bishopsgate Corridor in the City of London, which removed taxi access to a key arterial route.

The court ordered that the plan, guidance to boroughs and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order be quashed.

The case succeeded on four of the five grounds advanced on behalf of the taxi trade, including that the mayor and TfL failed to have proper regard to their public sector equality duties under the Equalities Act and that the measures unlawfully breached licensed taxi drivers’ legitimate expectation of being permitted to use bus lanes to ply for hire as a part of London’s public transport network.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the Judge rightly recognising the key role licensed taxis play in our great City.

‘The Court has upheld the importance of taxi access and points we’ve raised repeatedly with TfL and City Hall since they first announced Streetspace, but which had sadly fallen on deaf ears until now.

‘We were told the pandemic gave policy makers free reign to act without consultation, leaving us no choice other than to go to court.’

TfL said it was disappointed with the ruling and seeking to appeal the judgment.

A spokesperson said: ‘Temporary Streetspace schemes are enabling safer essential journeys during this exceptionally challenging time and are vital to ensuring that increased car traffic does not threaten London’s recovery from coronavirus.

‘We absolutely recognise the need for schemes such as our Bishopsgate corridor to work for the communities they serve and have worked hard to ensure that people across London, including those who use taxis, can continue to get to where they need to be.’

Campaign group Transport for All said the ruling accorded with the findings of its research into the impact of Streetscape schemes on disabled people.

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