Transport for London’s (TfL) appeal against a High Court judgment which described the capital’s Streetspace Plan as “unlawful” will start tomorrow.
The appeal relates to a High Court judgment on 21 January ruling that the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) “acted unlawfully” in their treatment of licensed taxis, in the Streetspace for London Plan and associated Guidance and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order.
The landmark judgment followed a judicial review mounted by taxi trade bodies United Trade Action Group (UTAG) and the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA). The review challenged the Mayor and TfL’s Plan, associated Guidance issued to London Boroughs and the Order 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 Streetspace Plan, Interim Guidance to Boroughs and the A10 Bishopsgate Traffic Order be quashed, however TfL were handed the right to appeal the decision.
Trevor Merralls, a United Trade Action Group (UTAG) Director and General Secretary of United Cabbies Group (UCG) said via social media today: “Tomorrow UTAG alongside the LTDA will be in court defending the Bishopsgate decision.”
UTAG have seen a rise in the number of taxi drivers supporting the cause in recent weeks. Financial support extends across the industry with garage owners and other service suppliers in the trade.
UTAG shared a picture of a Knowledge of London (KOL) student bike displaying a support sticker handed to those that donate. A UTAG spokesperson said: “They look as good on a KOL bike as they do on a cab, once again thanks to the students for their amazing support.”
In the case, heard at the High Court’s Planning Court on 25 and 26 November 2020, Senior High Court Judge, Mrs Justice Lang DBE found overwhelmingly for the Claimant taxi trade bodies, UTAG and the LTDA.
The original case succeeded on four of the five grounds put forward on behalf of the taxi trade:
In the Streetspace Plan and subsequent Guidance, the Mayor and TfL respectively failed to distinguish the special status of taxis from “general traffic”, neither taking into account the distinct status of taxis as a form of public transport nor the travel needs of those who rely on accessible taxis.
The Mayor and TfL failed to have proper regard to their Public Sector Equality Duties under Section 149 of the Equalities Act 2010.
The Plan, Guidance and the A10 Order unlawfully breached licensed taxi drivers’ “legitimate expectation” of being permitted to use bus lanes to ply for hire effectively as a vital part of London’s integrated public transport network.
The treatment of taxis in the Plan, Guidance and the Order and the decisions to exclude them were “seriously flawed” and “irrational”.
In the lengthy and detailed judgment, Mrs Justice Lang underlined a series of failings by TfL and the Mayor, describing their decision-making process as “seriously flawed”, with the decision to exclude taxis being based on “superficial” and “inadequate evidence”.
Last week, Chiltern Law, the law firm representing UTAG, said: “A week from now we will be in the Court of Appeal arguing the Bishopsgate / Streetspace appeal while London enjoys this beautiful hot weather.
“Thanks to all those who supported for making this possible.”
The appeal against the decision is set to start tomorrow on 15 June.