Spending on increased road capacity

MQT on 2014-12-17
Session date: 
December 17, 2014
Question By: 
Darren Johnson
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Why are you planning for £28bn to be spent on increasing road capacity across London when new figures reveal the early death toll from air pollution is even higher than thought?


Answer for Spending on increased road capacity

Answer for Spending on increased road capacity

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Darren.  This one again has been taken well out of order. 


The figure of £28 billion that you quote is an interesting one because it also, of course, obviously includes a huge amount of expenditure on measures that will actually reduce air pollution, improve traffic flow, benefit vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians, and indeed create a great deal of beautiful urban realm.  I defend our approach.  You have to invest in roads as well as in other mass transit systems.


Darren Johnson AM:  We definitely want that sort of investment and so there is no quibble there.  This figure includes the Inner Orbital Tunnel and a series of mini-tunnels estimated at £15 billion to £25 billion.  The Silvertown Tunnel will cost at least £753 million, the Gallions Reach Bridge £600 million, the Belvedere Bridge £900 million, the M25 Junction 30 scheme £150 million and the Croydon widening of the A23 corridor in the Five Ways Junction £85 million.  All of these are not aimed at improving public realm or improving facilities for cyclists.  All of these are aimed at increasing road capacity.  What assessment have you and TfL done of the air pollution impact of these schemes?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  By the way, you should have read that list out earlier to Val [Valerie Shawcross AM] because it makes a point I was ‑‑


Jenny Jones AM:  Concentrate.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ making earlier about investment in transport infrastructure.  The roads have been for too long neglected in this city in an ideological way.  Eighty per cent of journeys in London are still made by public transport ‑‑


Jenny Jones AM:  Answer the question.


Darren Johnson AM:  The pollution impact.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If you look at the Blackwall Tunnel, for instance, you have terrible pollution in the --


Darren Johnson AM:  What assessment have you done of the pollution impact of your plans?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am fairly certain that as part of the Silvertown Tunnel consultation and as part of the preparatory work there, we have indeed looked at the reduction in pollution that you will get in both Greenwich and on the north side of the river as a result of enabling the traffic to flow more smoothly and reducing congestion.  You should look at that, Darren.  Actually, your argument is completely on its head.


Darren Johnson AM:  What assessment have you done of all of these plans?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I would be very happy to send you all such assessments, particularly of the Silvertown crossing, which is far advanced.  The Inner Orbital Tunnel that you mentioned, again, you could see very, very easily how such an investment could radically reduce pollution on the Marylebone Road, on the Euston Road and on the hideous congestion that exists currently on the non-existent South Circular.  You could radically reduce emissions and pollution.  Therefore, these schemes should be progressed.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  The Green Group is out of time.  


Jenny Jones AM:  Nonsense.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  It is totally true.


Jenny Jones AM:  You are talking nonsense.