Mayor pledges to keep capital moving through the big freeze

8 January 2010

The Mayor of London has agreed to the Government’s request for a 25% reduction in the use of grit throughout the capital. Following a telephone conversation with the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis, the Mayor agreed that due to the forecast for prolonged cold weather London would heed the Government’s recommendation.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “I want to reassure Londoners that the capital’s salt cellar remains stocked, Transport for London and the boroughs are working as a team and the gritters are on our streets. We will do everything humanly possible to keep roads safe and public transport running.

“But with the whole country battling one of the worst winters in living memory and salt in such great demand we must play our part in ensuring the supply does not dwindle. Given the unbelievable conditions the capital and the whole of the country has experienced and the bleakness of the forecast for coming days the national salt supplies are clearly under strain. I will continue to argue for the capital to be given its fair share and more but its wise in the meantime to make the most of what we have"

Transport for London (TfL) is working closely with the London boroughs to implement its well prepared cold weather plans. Their fleet of 38 gritters will continue to operate across the Transport for London Road Network and the London boroughs will continue to grit their local strategic road network and as many local roads as possible, while seeking to conserve grit stocks as far as possible.

De-icing trains and vehicles will continue to run across the Tube, London Overground, DLR and Tramlink networks overnight, as TfL work to continue to deliver the good service we have seen across all those networks in recent days and weeks. The bus network will continue to operate right across the capital. But depending on the weather conditions some local diversions and curtailment of routes may be necessary. Passengers will be kept informed through the usual information channels.

It is important that Londoners allow more time for their journeys and check before they travel via media travel bulletins, visiting www.tfl.gov.uk/realtime or by calling TfL’s 24 hour travel information line on 0843 222 1234.

The Mayor has also called on the capital to demonstrate the community spirit it is renowned for. He added: “London is renowned the world over for its ability to face adversity. If the forecasts are correct and more snow falls then we will all have a part to play in keeping the capital safe. If faced by a deluge then I urge every Londoner with a shovel to take to our pavements and paths. I also hope people will take the time to look out for those who may be struggling to cope with the conditions. This is a challenging time for the elderly or infirm and a five minute trip to check on a neighbour could potentially make a major difference to their lives.”

London benefits from having a strategic voice on the Government’s ‘Salt Cell’ allocating salt grit stocks thanks to the intervention of the Mayor who realised that, rather than a multitude of calls for salt from Boroughs, one voice was needed to represent the capital.

His action followed warnings from Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy that there were not enough salt stocks left in London for the mutual aid arrangements in place to share salt distribution between boroughs and TfL to work effectively. These warnings have led to an extra supply of salt being provided for the capital, meaning the Boroughs can continue to share salt in the knowledge they will not face an immediate shortage.

Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy said: “We’re working very closely with our partners in the London boroughs to ensure the capital’s roads remain as clear as possible and the transport network continues to serve Londoners.  Staff on the Tube, DLR, London Overground, London Buses and Trams are working round the clock and we continue to operate good service levels.  We will keep working hard and urge Londoners to check before they travel.”