Some 12,000 people have responded to a London Cycling Campaign (LCC) appeal to write to members of the London Assembly ahead of a vote on Monday that could result in a 40 per cent increase in funding for cycling in the city, prompting the IT department at City Hall to offer help to Assembly Members struggling to cope with overflowing inboxes.
LCC is calling for pressure to be maintained on Assembly Members ahead of Monday’s vote on Mayor Boris Johnson’s budget to call on them to back an amendment proposed by the Green Part’s Jenny Jones that could bring spending on cycling up to 2 per cent of the Transport for London (TfL) budget, in line with the estimated 2 per cent of journeys made by bike in the capital.
The motion from Ms Jones reads:
The amendment background
In November 2012, the London Assembly Transport Committee investigated how cycling could be made safer in London. The cross party report recommended that the Mayor should allocate at least £145 million to cycling in 2013-14 (which is equivalent to 2 per cent of TfL’s 2012-13 budget).
The Mayor’s budget proposes a cycling budget of £104 million, leaving him £41 million short of meeting our recommendation.
TfL has consistently found savings far exceeding its original savings targets. In the past eight years this has amounted to £600 million of unanticipated savings, with £216 million found in 2011-12. In the past TfL have brought forward tube, rail, tram and bus projects with unanticipated savings. TfL’s finances and investment plans are too opaque for us to see exactly how this happens, and to identify further savings for TfL in 2013-14 in the same way that we are able to scrutinise the GLA, for example. The Transport Committee suggested that it may be possible for TfL to use future unanticipated savings to fund the increased expenditure on cycling.
The amendment proposal
We suggest TfL should prioritise cycling projects, particularly in outer London, for these extra funds in 2013-14. In order to ensure that £145 million is spent, and that cycling projects can get started as soon as possible, we propose that the Mayor increase cycle funding by £41 million in 2013-14, funded by an equivalent reduction in TfL’s £1.3 billion reserves. The Mayor should instruct TfL to use future unanticipated savings to replace that money in reserves before funding future projects.
LCC has said that it is aware that a number of Assembly Members are undecided on whether or not to back the motion, which would result in a 41 per cent increase in the £106 million currently set aside for cycling in the proposed TfL budget.
It adds that London residents can use an online form on the LCC website to write to their representative to ask them to back the motion proposed by Ms Jones.
Yesterday, as the number of emails sent in response to LCC’s campaign headed into five figures, the website Mayor Watch revealed that Assembly Members had received a message from IT support at City Hall saying that any of them “alarmed by the number of emails in their inbox” should get in touch with the support desk for help.
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.