Mayor's Oral Report

MQT on 2015-06-17
Session date: 
June 17, 2015
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  The Mayor will now provide an oral update of up to five minutes in length on matters occurring since the publication of his report.  Mr Mayor?


Answer for Mayor's Oral Report

Answer for Mayor's Oral Report

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you very much, Jennette.  Good morning.  Can I echo, of course, your tribute to John Biggs [John Biggs AM].  Everybody is genuinely glad to see John returned there at last as Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

Since we last spoke, there has been an awful lot going on.  I would single out the Team London programme.  We have now 190,000 young Londoners who are taking part in volunteering in their schools and elsewhere through the Team London Young Ambassadors scheme.  We confirmed plans for the Beam Park development, which will allow 2,000 new homes on that formerly derelict bit of land.  That is going to be made possible, of course, by the Beam Park railway link into Fenchurch Street.  We launched London Technology Week just a couple of days ago to stress the huge success of London’s tech sector and the importance of getting our kids able to code and to take part in that success.  I saw the work done by Team London in supporting the Maypole Project in Bromley and the fantastic work that they do for severely disabled young Londoners.  The more people who know about the work of the Maypole Project, the better.

You have asked for a couple of updates on current matters.  The first was about the use of mobile phone towers to intercept communications and whether this was being done in a sinister fashion.  I must say that the concerns are entirely legitimate in the sense that it seems that there are mobile phone towers that are capable of intercepting people’s communications throughout the city.  There are about 20 of them.  I am sure that they fulfil a valuable counterterrorism security purpose, but it is very important for Londoners to have the assurance that their conversations are not being randomly monitored.  I have written to The Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, who is in charge of the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, directly and asked him for his views on this matter and for any report that he makes about such surveillance to be communicated to me and to us at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC).  Obviously, Members of the Assembly, I would be very happy to share all that correspondence and indeed that report, if and when it comes, with you.

The last request  was about the recent House of Commons debate on air quality.  It was, judging by the accounts I have seen of it, an excellent conversation at which a lot of good points were made and some slightly less good points.  It is very important that this subject is high up the political agenda.  It was notable that almost all Members confirmed that London is making progress, that there is a way to go, that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a very important part of our next steps forward and that Heathrow expansion is simply not possible if the Government is to do anything to fulfil its air quality requirements.  It was a useful debate.