Delivering Healthy Streets schemes

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2019-02-07
Session date: 
February 7, 2019
Reference: 
2019/2080
Question By: 
Caroline Russell
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Question

How will you ensure that Healthy Streets schemes and projects that support your Vision Zero ambition go ahead, despite the budget situation at Transport for London? 

Supplementary Questions: 

Answer

Delivering Healthy Streets schemes

Delivering Healthy Streets schemes

Answered By: 
the Mayor and Commissioner

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Last year [2018] , I published London’s first Vision Zero Action Plan, which sets out bold and ambitious plans to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on London’s streets by 2041.  This is part of my wider Healthy Streets approach, which aims to make London a greener, healthier and more attractive place to live, work and do business.

 

 

TfL has committed to delivering on these ambitions and has increased investment in the Healthy Streets initiative to £2.3 billion, announced in TfL’s latest business plan.  This record investment is taking place despite TfL facing some significant external financial headwinds.  These include the loss of £700 million per year on average operating grant from central Government, the consequences of a subdued national economy, the future revenue lost due to the delay in opening the Elizabeth line, and the absence of any funding from central Government for the maintenance of London’s strategic road network.

 

However, safety is our priority and we will be continuing to work towards our Vision Zero ambition to make our streets safer.  Vision Zero is about doing everything in our power to prevent serious injury and the needless loss of life on our transport network.  We cannot accept that deaths and injuries on our roads is simply the price that some must pay for travelling around our city.

 

I would remind, Chairman, the Assembly that every year around 4,000 people are killed or injured on London’s streets.  This is simply unacceptable.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor, and it is very good to see your very solid support for the Vision Zero ambitions.

 

Following our last discussion about cycling, I have now met with your Walking and Cycling Commissioner to discuss your new quality criteria.  It is very good that you are using a quality standard to focus the use of TfL funds only on the strongest schemes that really deliver Healthy Streets and help with your Vision Zero ambition.

 

I would like to ask the Commissioner.  How about the boroughs that are not meeting the standard?  Will you engage with them to help them raise their game and, if they do not raise their game, will you be holding back funding?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  We will certainly engage with them to ensure that the highest possible standards are applied across the whole of London.  I would be glass-half-full in my perspective on this in that I would be optimistic that we will get an acceptance across London as to the logic of having a London-wide high-quality standard.  I have not given any consideration to the implication if they do not meet that standard.  I am just going to continue to pursue discussions with boroughs as I have on a regular basis that we do meet that standard and work in very closely, as the Mayor said, with the Walking and Cycling Commissioner to ensure that happens.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  The other point that I am worried about is that the pace of delivery is not moving fast enough.  If we look at the cycling budget, for example, £142 million of the cycling budget has gone unspent during this Mayoral term and the amount that has been spent each year on cycling has gone down

year-on-year.

 

My question is again for the Commissioner.  You have not actually built the schemes that that money was allocated to.  Now you have to build much more each year to catch up and that is showing in the current business plan.  Do you have the capacity in TfL to deliver all the schemes that you need to deliver to spend that money?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  We do and that is one thing that I was very determined that we had when going through the business plan internally before I took it to the Mayor and then indeed the Assembly.  Absolutely, we do.  I am determined that we will continue the progress we have made in cycling schemes.  Recently in January [2019] there was a public engagement for a number of new routes, as you will be aware of, across London.  I could list them all out but I do not waste your time in doing so.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  No, do not do that.

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  You know where they are, but that demonstrates the momentum, if I may, Chairman, through you, that we are continuing to be committed to.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  Picking up on the momentum, just looking at tracking progress, at the moment TfL makes it very difficult for people to track progress on these targets on delivery.  For example, the [London Assembly] Budget and Performance Committee on 7 January [2019] asked for details of the capital programme expenditure project-by-project and how they have been classified into the categories of critical, central, desirable and deprioritised.  It is a month later and that information is not yet available.  Do you know when that information will be available?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  It should be very soon.  I am talking about in the next few days.  This ‑‑

 

Caroline Russell AM:  In the next few days?  Less than a week?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  I would be very optimistic that it should be because I talked to the team just yesterday to ask that very question.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  On Healthy Streets in particular, the reporting to the TfL Board is not comprehensive.  It does not allow the whole programme to be scrutinised.  Will you provide more detail to allow us to track the spending and delivery on all Healthy Streets schemes so that we can tell how you are doing, like with a

red-amber-green rating for each project?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  I am very happy to share that as openly and transparently as I can, as I do with everything to do with transport in London.  In fact, I am very happy to organise for the team to have an offline discussion with you about how we could better present that progress.

 

Caroline Russell AM:  That would be very helpful.  Thank you very much.  Then, finally, I have something that may also provide a bit of a solution to working with the boroughs.  Chris Boardman [MBE British cyclist] is working on transport in Greater Manchester and tweeted on 25 January [2019]:

 

“We don’t do ‘bids’ anymore, just submissions.  Every quarter.  Ongoing.  Forever as far as I’m concerned.  This’s how we do streets now.  If a scheme doesn’t meet our rigorous standards, we help them bring it up to scratch and re-submit. Our ambition will match each of the boroughs.”

 

Will you consider trying an ongoing process like this in London?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  We do and I am pleased to see Manchester learning from us.  I will give you an example of the fruits of the conversations that we have been having and the recent fruition of the conversations with Hammersmith in relation to what was Cycle Superhighway 9, a good example of City Hall, TfL and the team working with Hammersmith, which has done an excellent job in coming forward with a scheme, which is a big improvement on the previous scheme.  You can call it a bid.  You can call it a submission.  We call it team London delivering for our city.