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Written Answers arising from the Plenary Assembly Question and Answer Session with Transport for London
on 14 January 2009
2/2009 Peak Oil
Earlier in the year the Mayor indicated his awareness of the Peak Oil phenomena. As such is he familiar with any current or planned study or report into how the potentially catastrophic implications could be offset in London? If one does not exist, will he consider, as a matter of urgency, the commissioner of a detailed survey?
As outlined at Mayor’s Question Time previously, the Mayor recognises that the availability of energy at affordable prices is of interest not only to Londoners but to the whole global economy. A number of commentators have argued that world oil resources are now on a downward trend – the peak oil hypothesis – but we are also aware that this is not accepted in all quarters.
It is the Mayor’s responsibility to see that London is able to fulfil its historic and global financial role and to participate in the national and global debate on energy resources. These issues form part of the consideration of the Mayor’s Climate Change Mitigation Strategy and preparation for a new Energy Strategy.
TfL is also taking steps to minimize the potential threat of more scarce and costly oil on public transport by introducing hybrid technology to taxis and the bus fleet - TfL is committed to having 56 bus hybrid vehicles in service by early 2009, a further 100 buses by 2010, 200 by 2011 and 500 by 2012. We are making big investments in cycling and walking initiatives and the Mayor is championing electric cars including by trebling the number of charging locations by providing another 100 across the city.
In terms of introducing a new bus for London, we expect the final prototype to harness the most appropriate technology on offer to deliver environmental benefits and low fuel consumption. TfL is also introducing hydrogen buses to the fleet from the end of this year to start assessing the potential of this fuel as a medium-term alternative to oil and to quicken development of the hydrogen industry to commercialization. This low carbon and low fuel consumption strategy puts London in a more robust position to cope with changes to oil supplies.
We will not be commissioning a detailed study but will ensure TfL monitors threats to future supply whether these come from oil production passing its peak or other pressures.
3 / 2009 Rogue Taxi Drivers
What measures will the Mayor take to ensure public safety and protect the livelihoods of legitimate taxi drivers in the light of the worryingly high levels of rogue taxi drivers still operating in London more than six months after his election?
TfL has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) and the City of London Police (CoLP) to tackle touting and minimise the risks to the travelling public. Illegal cabs are being addressed through a problem-solving approach which involves a programme of integrated activities including industry regulation, licensing, enforcement and education.
The police use a broad menu of tactical options to tackle illegal cab issues including covert and high visibility activities. We are doubling the number of dedicated cab enforcement officers by an additional 34 officers in the MPS and CoLP to provide greater coverage for anti-touting activities across London.
TfL has also introduced tougher penalties for any licensed Private Hire Vehicle or taxi driver convicted of touting to send out a clear message that this will not be tolerated. Since 1 August 2008, there have been over 260 arrests and over 40 licensed private hire drivers have had licences revoked following a touting conviction.
The TOCU Cab Unit’s core activities include evening patrols in the hotspot locations every Wednesday to Saturday. In addition to the TOCU’s anti-touting patrols they have carried out approximately 290 additional planned enforcement activities and operations over the last 6 months. These include covert anti-touting operations, high visibility enforcement activities to detect and deter illegal cab drivers, compliance activities (vehicle and licensing checks, ANPR tactics) and crime prevention activities.
4 / 2009 DLR Extension
Is it final that the DLR extension will not be extended from Beckton via Barking and Dagenham to Rainham or is this something that may change in the future?
I refer you to the response to question 15/2009 but please note that the extension has never been planned to serve Barking itself and would only extend as far as Dagenham Dock and not Rainham.
7 / 2009 Routemaster
What efforts will the Mayor make to ensure that the new Routemaster is built in Britain?
9 / 2009 Congestion
Do you agree with Hugh Sumner, the ODA’s Director of Transport, that roadworks are the biggest cause of congestion in London?
Bearing in mind the number of level crossings on its route, what would be the effect on highway traffic in Richmond Upon Thames and elsewhere of the introduction of Airtrack?
The Airtrack project is not a TfL scheme – it is a BAA and National Rail project - but in principle, we support the scheme.
TfL is concerned about the potential impacts of extended level crossing closures in the Richmond, Barnes and Feltham areas. In responding to BAA’s consultation on Airtrack, TfL requested further information from BAA to help identify impacts on the highway network and propose any mitigation measures where necessary.
BAA has suggested to TfL that the reduction in time that the barriers would be open, would be 10-25% at two crossings - Sheen Lane (Mortlake) and Manor Road (North Sheen). The reduction would be 0-10% at Vine Road and White Hart Lane, Barnes, and Bedfont Lane, Feltham.
BAA has said to TfL that there would be no decrease in overall road capacity at any crossing in Greater London – i.e. that the same numbers would be able to cross – but with an effect on delays especially at the two more severely affected crossings.
TfL is concerned about the effect on the wider network, especially for the two crossings most severely affected. TfL has therefore asked BAA to work with them to analyse the effect on traffic flow of any potential increases in traffic queue lengths.
If that analysis turns out to suggest there would be unacceptable consequences, TfL will expect BAA to provide appropriate mitigation measures.
11 / 2009 Regal House Car Parking
With regard to the decision on Stage 1 of Regal House in Twickenham, why does TfL believe that this 111 bedroom hotel does not need any car parking provision?
12 /2009 LIPS Settlement (1)
Boroughs have welcomed the £100,000 in the LIP settlement for 09/10 for them to spend on their own local transport priorities. Is this a one off or will it now be a regular feature of the settlements?
Increased flexibility and reduced bureaucracy will be central to any further revisions to future LIPs settlements.
TfL is in ongoing discussion with London Councils, individual boroughs and the GLA as to what form the LIPs process will take in 2010 and beyond, but we would envisage the £100,000 allocation to the Boroughs at least until the Boroughs are satisfied that the new scheme gives them greater flexibility.
TfL has accepted that the current LIP system is too bureaucratic and inflexible and that the Boroughs want this to change. Rather than wait until the new Transport Strategy/LIPs2 to reform the LIPS process, we started working with London Councils and the London Technical Advisors Group (LoTAG) last June and have identified a series of reforms to be implemented over the next 18 months. Key changes include:
13/ 2009 LIPS Settlement (2)
Can you confirm whether there are any restrictions or conditions tied to this money?
The only conditions on the use of these funds are that the Boroughs should use them for transport purposes that are broadly consistent with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Boroughs are also required to submit one monitoring report at the end of the financial year to confirm how these funds were used and what outcomes they expect to achieve as a result.
14 / 2009 210 Bus Route
The 210 Bus route currently runs from Brent Cross through Golders Green to Finsbury Park. Has TfL considered extending this route to Stamford Hill in order to better connect London’s Orthodox Jewish communities?
15 / 2009 Dagenham Docks
What pressure will the Mayor be putting on the Government to allocate funding for the DLR extension to Dagenham Docks?
The Mayor has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) expressing support for the transport initiatives proposed for the Thames Gateway area but also seeking clarity in relation to funding of the DLR Dagenham Dock extension.
Progressing the Dagenham Dock Transport and Works Act (TWA) application to Public Inquiry means that TfL has to be in a position to explain how the project is going to be funded. As TfL does not currently have funds to commit to this project (and pending a response from DCLG), the start of the Public Inquiry has been delayed. This can be re-activated if a funding commitment can be made.
19 / 2008 Closing the Gap
A press release from Tube Lines suggested that unless the gap is closed between what London Underground can afford and what the PPP Arbiter decides are the costs of the second period upgrades (2010-17), the Piccadilly Line upgrades might have to be abandoned. Is this a real possibility?