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Mayor should get tough on boroughs failing on transport strategy

Green Party London Assembly Member Siân Berry has published a briefing that highlights the gap between Sadiq Khan’s stated ambitions in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) and the lack of progress towards meeting the strategy across many of the city’s boroughs. 

Siân has examined the types of projects included in recent borough delivery plans to support the MTS and to what extent the Mayor has used his powers to prevent some boroughs failing to achieve the MTS targets.

red double decker bus on road near building during daytime

In the latest round of Borough transport funding  (covering 2023 -2025), £65 million was awarded to projects across four categories: safer corridors and neighbourhoods, cycleways network development, bus priority and cycle parking.

Five boroughs decided not to bid for new cycling funding and while two of them have already made progress in this area, Brent and Lewisham can hardly say the same while the fifth,  Croydon, currently no installed or planed cycleway at all. Sian describes their decision not to apply for funding as ‘exremely disappointing.’

Similarly, there is only 31 km of existing bus lane across the seven boroughs who failed to bid for bus priority measure funding. 

The blame for this state of affairs, Siân believes, is the Mayor himself.  She points to section 146 of the GLA Act which empowers the mayor to reject any borough transport proposal not in line with his own published strategy

Siân says: ‘The data doesn’t lie: the Mayor has clearly failed to use his power to use his powers to direct lagging boroughs to better support his Transport Strategy.

‘Every Londoner, no matter their borough, deserves to live in a community with adequate bus lanes, accessible cycle parking, safe streets, and the many more transport elements their mayor has promised.

‘I hope the Mayor, this Government, and the next will use my report’s evidence to make sure London achieves its vital targets for improving public health, reducing road danger and combatting climate change. This means using powers that are there to make sure we achieve our targets.’

Siân’s recommendations include the Mayor updating the MTS and his guidance to boroughs, while preparing a new strategy to be finalised by 2028.

Furthermore, borough implementation plans should only be approved if they are sufficient to deliver on London-wide targets and, where the plans or delivery are inadequate, the Mayor should intervene early and use all the powers available to him under the GLA Act 1999.

She also calls on the Government to set out longer term funding plans for capital investment in London’s transport infrastructure, providing support for the delivery of new homes, health improvements and many other benefits to wider national missions and targets, as called for by the National Infrastructure Commission.

 

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