Mayor of London Boris Johnson has admitted that the spending on cycling in the capital during the 2014/15 financial year will, at £29 million, be little more than a third of the £82 million budgeted.
That latter figure, confirmed last October, was itself a reduction from the original amoun of £109 million as a result of cost savings on the city’s cycle hire scheme and the “re-phasing” of infrastructure projects aimed at making the streets safer for people on bikes, reports the London Evening Standard.
The revelation was contained in a written answer to Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the London Assembly’s Liberal Democrats, who had asked Mr Johnson to confirm how much of the budget was being spent, and condemned the reply as "shameful."
It comes nearly a year after Sir Peter Hendy, commissioner of Transport for London, described similar underspends in previous years as “an embarrassment” as he was being grilled on the issue at City Hall.
Sir Peter said last March in response to a question from Green Party assembly member Darren Johnson, who has regularly criticised underspending on cycling, that TfL was under pressure from the mayor to “get some stuff on the ground.
Responding to the mayor’s confirmation of how much had been spend in the current year, Ms Pidgeon said it was “simply shameful that year after year TfL repeatedly spend just a fraction of their allocated budget on vital improvements to junctions and investing in cycling infrastructure.”
But a spokesman for TfL told the Standard that money not used this year would be rolled over into the budget for the following financial year.
He added that some £160 million of infrastructure is due to be completed this year and next, including the two Cycle Superhighways running through the centre of the capital, and CS1 from Tottenham to the City.
Work on the East-West and North-South routes, given the go-ahead by TfL’s board last month, will start in the next few weeks. The projects were delayed by a lengthy consultation process that was concluded late last year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.