ORN (4)

MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Richard Tracey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Would you view a fine of £5,000 for driving in an Olympic lane as excessive, considering that the standard TfL fine for driving in a bus lane is £120?


Answer for ORN (4)

Answer for ORN (4)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thanks, Dick. The answer is, yes, of course, that a fine of £5,000 is draconian and I do not want to see such penalties exacted. It is, of course, allowed by the law under the 2006 London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act, that is the maximum permissible allowed by law, but we expect penalty charge notices to be issued as normal by TfL and other authorities and that is the way that we expect the Olympic Route Network (ORN) to be enforced. Unless there are very, very exceptional circumstances.

Richard Tracey (AM): Londoners will be truly shocked that anybody ever thought of a figure of £5,000 as a maximum fine, even if you say that it will not be levied. It contrasts with what, £120, for infringement of lanes in the TfL regime. This is just absolutely ridiculous and I think once Londoners do realise that this exists through the offices of the media - the television, radio and the newspapers, if they are going to do their job properly and tell them - then there will be really very deep shock. Who will enforce this? Is it expected to be the Metropolitan Police Service or some special wardens that are going to stand around on these lanes, these ridiculous lanes that we have criticised endlessly today?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Dick, I think people will hear the points you make very powerfully and they will understand that, when you say that, you speak for many, many people in London and they will certainly not want to see fines of £5,000 imposed on motorists. All I can say is, of course, that neither you nor I was serving in this place when that Act was passed and, even had we been, it was not within our control. I expect that TfL and the boroughs responsible will enforce this in the normal way, with penalties not exceeding the limit you describe.

Richard Tracey (AM): So you are expecting the boroughs and TfL, and possibly the Metropolitan Police Service, to enforce this? Have you any idea what it is going to cost to have these enforcement officers out, just possibly, to be able to collect these fines?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Hang on. We are hoping that there will be no fines.

Richard Tracey (AM): At all?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): At all. Yes. We are hoping not to collect any fines because we are hoping that, in so far as it is necessary to have hypothecated discrete lanes at all, everybody will understand and be sufficiently well educated in the use of these lanes not to commit an infraction and, therefore, we hope there will be no fines at all.

Richard Tracey (AM): Is there going to be some reliance on closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras which are so regularly used to catch people in bus lanes?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I expect there will be some use of CCTV cameras naturally since many of the routes are already amply surveyed since we have one of the most surveyed cities in the world. But I could not say that every inch of it will be covered by CCTV. I am sure someone could get back to you with a detailed breakdown.

Richard Tracey (AM): Can I suggest this is another thing for you to raise with Jacques Rogge when you communicate our various displeasures with the whole set up of the Olympic --

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): All I would say is I understand completely where everybody is coming from. Bear in mind I understand how electric this issue can be. I do want to make sure that we reduce, as far as possible, the confusion and the disruption caused by the ORN. We must, must, must make sure that people go by public transport.

I also think that there is a certain sense in which we have to recognise we are putting on the Olympic Games in this city. It is a very, very, very big thing. We are going to have to move people around expeditiously. That will involve some element of an Olympic Route Network. We have just got to make it work and to minimise the disruption. It would be wrong of people in this horseshoe to go out and tell Londoners this whole thing is irrelevant and unnecessary because I do not think that would be an accurate representation. We can minimise it. We can minimise disruption, but we cannot junk it completely.