Oral Update on the Mayor's Report

MQT on 2014-09-17
Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Mr Mayor, can I ask you to provide an oral update of up to five minutes in length on matters occurring since the publication of the report. We have asked you to specifically update us on Uxbridge [the outcome of the Conservative Party Uxbridge and South Ruislip parliamentary candidate selection meeting], the Sutton Tramlink, tackling air pollution and proposals for the London Resilience Team. There is also a late request for an update on the ticketing arrangements for New Year celebrations.


Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report

Answer for Oral Update on the Mayor's Report

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I was going to lead off with that anyway, Roger.  You will have seen and I think it has been announced already this morning by Sir Eddie Lister [Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Planning] that from the 1 January celebrations at New Year’s Eve, we will be ticketing for the first time, following in the footsteps of other cities around the world that do this.  Indeed, Sydney, which has fantastic fireworks, does this.  Edinburgh does this. 

The reason is very simple.  This has become huge.  Everybody will have seen the colossal numbers of people.  The overwhelming advice I have had, which I cannot really ignore, from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), from the London Ambulance Service, from the Fire Brigade and from Transport for London (TfL) is that we need to look at ways of trying to reduce the sheer press of humanity that there is, in the vicinity of the London Eye and thereabouts and all the viewing places.

I hope people will understand that this is the best and most practical way forward.  It will still be a fantastic evening for Londoners and there will still be plenty of places to watch it.  There will be 100,000 places in prime viewing areas where there will be a ticketing system, just to avoid the huge crush.  I stress that the fee that is being charged, which is £10 a head, is not a money-making exercise.  I know people are suspicious of this.  It will barely cover the cost of the ticketing.  It is, I am afraid, a congestion charge.  That is what it is.  There seemed little for it.  It will still be, though, a fantastic evening.

The second thing I should say is that we are publishing housing data in yet more detail, an unprecedented volume and breadth of data, to make it available to Londoners so they can look at what is happening.  Obviously, the figures on homebuilding in London are very various and controversial, but you will get a lot more texture and a lot more detail from these things.

A group called The Tailormade has been crowned Gigs Champion [a competition to find London’s best busker] for this year, which is very exciting.

You have asked me for updates on the Sutton Tramlink, Steve [Steve O’Connell AM].  You are quite right that the boroughs concerned, Merton and Sutton, have come up with some very, very strong support after their surveys from the public for this Tramlink.  We are looking at it actively, as you know.  We are talking to you and to the councils concerned.  The issue is going to be cost.  It is going to be whether TfL can afford to do it.  All the legions of TfL graduate trainees here [in the public gallery] will know that we cannot do this sort of thing unless we get a lot of active buy-in from the boroughs, and that includes coming up with a financing package that really shows commitment.  That means, I am afraid, quite a lot of thought about development that may take place in those boroughs in order to finance that transport project.

You have asked me about recent developments in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Association, Len [Len Duvall AM].  I can tell you that my adoption as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate will make absolutely no difference to the discharge of my function as Mayor.  If anything, you will see an even greater intensification of the already volcanic levels of activity that you have come to expect.

The Liberal Democrats have asked for an update on air pollution and the date by which we are going to achieve European standards for nitrogen dioxide.  The roadmap that we have set out should achieve that, we think, by 2020 or, in a sense, from 2020 we will have that Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in place.  That will more or less halve nitrogen dioxide and of course greatly reduce particulate matter up to 10 microns in size (PM10s) and particulate matter up to 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5s), because of the changes to the fleet.  We expect, obviously, to discourage people using old diesel vehicles.

Labour has asked another question about the London Resilience Team.  This is really a fairly minor and technical change and is really for the sake of efficiency and practicality.  It is something that has been requested by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to bring together the people responsible for resilience under the management of the Fire Brigade.  The idea is to have a much closer working relationship between the Greater London Authority (GLA) guys and the LFB people.  They will be there, based under the control of the LFB.  That was a suggestion of Ron Dobson [Commissioner, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority] and I think it is a good idea.

Finally, since TfL is here in such massed ranks [members of the TfL graduate scheme in the public gallery], I should just apologise to everybody for what obviously was a very difficult journey in this morning for many people.  We have had some difficulties on the Tube but they are being rapidly rectified.  Things have been returning to normal, even as I have been talking to you.  I remind you that delays on the Tube over the last six years - to pick a period entirely at random - are down 40% and they are continuing to come down.