Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
May 25, 2016
Question By: 
Florence Eshalomi
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Florence Eshalomi AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  I welcome your commitment in terms of making sure that there is more transparency on the Garden Bridge, but I have to say that I am still yet to be convinced that this is the best use of money.  For me, it is primarily a tourist attraction, not a transport scheme.  I think it is quite telling that, despite the claim that it is going to promote wildlife and biodiversity, not a single environmental charity has signed up to the project yet.

 

Can you tell me that if it is going ahead, Mr Mayor, under your mayoralty, local community groups and residents in my part of Lambeth will be listened to and any of their concerns will be acted upon?

 

Secondly, the other guarantee that I would like from you, Mr Mayor, is about what happens if the Trust is unable to fund the £158 million in construction costs, the additional ongoing maintenance bill and the TfL loan repayments so that taxpayers are not left with that bill.

Answer

Answer for Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Oral Update on the Report of the Mayor (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I understand the concerns that you have expressed, but I have set out in the most transparent way that I can what has been spent so far and the consequences to taxpayers in London - and, by the way, around the country because it is also Government money - if we were to cancel the project today.  I think it is viable, and I have said to the Garden Bridge Trust what my expectations are with it.  You are right in relation to the gains to the community both locally and across London.

 

Insofar as the further contribution that could be made by the taxpayer is concerned, the Garden Bridge Trust has a credible ongoing business plan and has secured a large amount of private funding already.  It has more funding opportunities in the pipeline and there is every indication that it will be able to meet its targets.  However, you are right in relation to the importance and I have stressed to them that I will ensure that no more of Londoners’ taxes that I am responsible for go into the project.