Sadiq Khan has hailed a “vindication of our policies” after he and Transport for London secured a Court of Appeal decision overturning a previous ruling that their Streetspace programme had been introduced unlawfully.
In January, groups representing London taxi drivers successfully challenged the policy, which gives road space priority to bicycles, pedestrians and buses, and its specific implementation on Bishopsgate in the City of London, claiming it damaged their trade.
The strongly-critical High Court judgment described Streetspace as “seriously flawed”, calling the measures employed “extreme” and going “beyond what was reasonably required to meet the temporary challenges created by the pandemic”.
Today’s reversal of that ruling has delighted City Hall, with the Mayor saying that it, along with the mayoral election result last month, “forms a double mandate allowing us to continue with our bold measures. Our changes to Bishopsgate make it safer for people walking and cycling. This central London scheme is the centrepiece of the work we have done across the capital during my first term.”
The three Appeal Court judges said they will provide their full judgement at a later date, but have already over-ridden the January High Court decision. The black cab organisations – the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and the United Trade Action Group – could still seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The High Court judge had damned Streetspace for seeking to “take advantage of the pandemic” without proper consideration of the befits claimed for them and said, “It is no exaggeration to say that, without taxi services, many disabled people simply could not make trips which are important to them.”
But Khan said today: “Our world-leading Streetspace schemes are helping protect the health of Londoners, and this decision reinforces my determination to make it safer and easier for Londoners to walk and cycle, and to help ensure a green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.”
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