Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fuel Lobby Launches Legal Attack on London Mayor on Behalf of Road Haulage and Private Motorists

Crowd Funding Campaign to Reverse 'Toxic Charge' and Review Pollution in Cities
Shipping News Feature
UK – In a move relevant to the road haulage industry the campaigning organisation FairFuelUK has come out all guns blazing against the changes being introduced in London, and indeed other major cities, with regard to reducing pollution using the mechanism of charging vehicle owners. In London the aim is to have Mayor Sadiq Khan abandon his policy of 'T Charging', which penalises those who use older diesel and petrol powered private and commercial cars, vans and lorries in the capital.

FairFuelUK is today launching a crowd funding campaign to raise funds for a 2-part legal challenge both to convince the Mayor of London to reverse the implementation of his ‘cash grabbing unwarranted T-Charge’ and to have the Prime Minister and Defra set up an Independent Public Inquiry to fairly investigate other more effective ways to improve Air Quality in all UK Cities instead of tax hikes.

FairFuelUK believes, as it argues do millions of drivers, Sadiq Khan’s decision to implement an unnecessary toxicity charge on owners of older diesel and petrol vehicles was unlawful and unfair. It says it has received legal advice indicating the Mayor has acted outside the scope of his lawful powers and because of these reasons, the decision was irrational. It further argues that Mayor Khan seemingly ignored the powers he has to hold a full independent Public Inquiry on this issue before making his tax raising decision, something it says should now go ahead.

FairFuelUK has appointed the Law Firm, Howe & Co to represent the campaign's legal challenge. A judicial review will be called for, but it is recognised that the 90-day deadline to initiate this process has passed. Barristers have advised FairFuelUK as follows:

"There are strong arguments in favour of the Court taking an exceptional course and agreeing to extend time in this case. There are three factors in particular. Firstly, the huge public importance of the case, and the unfairness involved in a charging system that will inevitably penalise the poorer motorists in society. Secondly, the legal opinion's preliminary view regarding the strength of your prospective claim. Thirdly, the fact that the new charging system is not yet in place."

Whilst the tax regime on fuel varies across the world according to FairFuelUK, Greek drivers for instance pay 25 pence less for diesel than for petrol whilst in the UK diesel drivers are the highest taxed in the world, paying more than motorists in Germany, France, Greece and other EU economies, with UK petrol prices putting it third highest in global ranking. Quentin Willson, TV Broadcaster, Motoring Journalist and Lead Spokesman of FairFuelUK said:

“London’s Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, is pursuing his own heroic agenda to introduce a new Toxic Tax, Low Emission Zones and vehicle bans based on flawed health and emissions data. Even Transport for London says these initiatives will have a ‘negligible’ benefit on the city’s air quality. Kahn’s personal crusade is just another example of liberal-leaning politicians and ministers ignoring empirical evidence and scoring political points to the detriment of millions of hard-working drivers who have no other choice.”

The lobby group also claims that NOx levels are already falling in British cities and that the policy is a political decision driven by emotion and ignores low emission alternatives, such as retrofitting, bulk fuel additives and replacing bus fleets which it believes are instant solutions proven not to hurt the economy or drivers. Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign said:

“Motoring organisations and manufacturers have been deafening by their silence, letting Mr Khan ride roughshod over hard working drivers, massively devaluing their prized possessions by inflicting an idealistic, ineffective and unwarranted tax hike. Worse still, the Mayor of London has chosen to punish motorists over proven and much more effective ways to lower emissions. It’s purely a quick crash grab of the most dishonest of proportions. If the Mayor of London is serious about reducing emissions, why has he ignored more effective available proven solutions to improve air quality in favour of a punitive new tax on drivers?”

The crowd funding will be administered by Crowd Justice Funding. From 8am on Wednesday, 13th September, the crowd fund raising page and the full background information will available HERE.

Photo: Howard Cox and Quentin Willson launch the campaign.