Appeal court says Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace programme is legal

The Appeal Court has quashed a decision made by a judge in January that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Streetspace scheme was ‘unlawful’.

Lawyers acting for Transport for London appealed the decision and on Wednesday 17 June Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Bean announced that they were setting aside the earlier judgement of Mrs Justice Lang. He and his colleagues have not yet given their reasons. Those will be explained fully at a later date, but they were not convinced of the argument that the Mayor had acted unlawfully by introducing the Streetspace scheme in 2020.

Sadiq Khan announced last year that he wanted to create one of the largest car free areas of any major city in the world in central London as part of his policy to promote active travel, ie. walking and cycling.

The Government introduced emergency measures so that local councils could introduce such measures, as a reaction to the pandemic. At the time they were introduced, the public was being encouraged not to use public transport and as Covid restrictions eased it was feared that the public would take to their cars en masse, to avoid sharing public transport, causing gridlock.

The Streetspace scheme, introduced in London last May, introduced bus-only corridors and restricted licensed taxis from entering the A10 Bishopsgate, a major road in east London, between 7.00am and 7.00pm on weekdays.

Two trade bodies representing the black cab sector took the Mayor of London and Transport for London to court over loss of earnings. Mrs Justice Beverley Lang ruled the introduction of the Streetspace scheme unlawful, saying the scheme was ‘unfair and irrational’, saying also that Sadiq Khan and TfL “took advantage of the pandemic” to push through “radical changes”.

Further decisions on Streetspace initiatives have been on hold since that ruling, while the appeal was pending. The decision by the Facebook group OneChiswick to take LB Hounslow to Judicial Review over the installation of the C9 cycleway through Chiswick High Rd was also put on hold pending this decision.

Cllr Hanif Khan welcome the decision for LB Hounslow

LB Hounslow published the results of it public consultation on the many Streetspace schemes in May, announcing the end of the no through route trial on Turnham Green Terrace, but saying the final review for the scheme in Hounslow would be published in July 2021.

Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport and One Hounslow welcomed the decision saying,

“I am delighted with the verdict on the appeal regarding Mayor Sadiq Khan’s StreetSpace Programme, which clearly determines that our LTNs were legal.

“I recognise that way forward set out for the next round of LTN consultation is the right way forward, and we will continue to listen to all those affected, as we have demonstrated in the recent round of decisions.

“We are determined to make it safer and easier for residents of Hounslow to walk and cycle and promote the health and aspiration of our residents.”

Cllr Sam Hearn says residents still reject local schemes

Councillor Sam, Hearn, Conservative spokesman on Transport, who represents Chiswick Riverside ward, had this to say:

“Whatever the eventual outcome of the legal process, nothing changes the status of the streetspace and cycleway schemes imposed on Chiswick.

“They have still been implemented without proper public consultation, without any consideration of alternative measures, and subsequently they have been roundly rejected at every opportunity by those most affected i.e. local residents.

“The reasons for the Appeal Court Judges having reached their decision have yet to be published and it is therefore hard to comment further. However, what additional information have the Appeal Court Judges taken into account in reaching their decision, and where exactly was Justice Lang’s original interpretation of the Law at fault?

“Surely it is impossible for the Judges to ignore the failure of either TfL or the Local Authorities to carry out their statutory duties under the Equality Act, specifically their public sector equality duties? It is entirely possible that the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association will seek to appeal this decision to Supreme Court”.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Council ends Streetspace trial at Turnham Green Terrace

See also: Future of Streetspace schemes in doubt

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