Email deluge at City Hall as London Assembly Members urged to vote for additional £41m for cycling

LCC campaign to back Jenny Jones amendment to TfL budget already backed by 12,000 people, but more needed

by Simon_MacMichael   February 20, 2013  

City Hall London

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.

 

5 user comments

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Is that so the IT department can show them how to mass delete? Devil

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [460 posts]
20th February 2013 - 11:41

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cidermart wrote:
Is that so the IT department can show them how to mass delete? Devil

Given the state of my inbox when the Fantasy Cycling season starts each year, I do have a little sympathy for them Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8006 posts]
20th February 2013 - 11:59

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But only a "little" Big Grin As I am one of the 12000 I only hope it works but I did receive a reply from Caroline Pidgeon, below.

"Dear cyclist,

Thank you for your email regarding the proposed London Assembly amendment urging the Mayor to increase the cycling budget by £41 million. I am replying on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group and I want to assure you that we are fully behind this campaign.

Our budget process is in two phases. At our first meeting where we looked at the Mayor’s draft budget, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group proposed its own budget amendment to the Mayor’s budget, which contained a firm commitment to increasing investment in cycling by £41 million. Full details of our budget amendment can be seen here.

At our first meeting I seconded a similar motion calling on the Mayor to increase investment and can confirm that Liberal Democrat members Stephen Knight AM and myself will definitely be supporting this new amendment and any related motions. More information about the previous motion can be found here.

You may also be interested to know that the recommendation for TfL to increase their cycle funding by £41 million was a key recommendation of the London Assembly Transport Committee’s report Gearing Up. As Chair of this Committee I was instrumental in steering this report, ensuring it had cross party support and maximising its impact. More detail can be found here.

Finally, while the increase in cycling investment is absolutely key to ensuring that more people feel able to cycle safely in London I would like to stress that we support a wide range of other measures, including far better design of junctions, greater provision of segregated cycle lanes where appropriate, the wider adoption of 20 mph speed limits (including on sections of TfL roads) and higher standards of training for lorry drivers. As the Lib Dems Transport lead member at City Hall I frequently push the Mayor to make changes in all these areas. For information about some of the cycling issues I have taken and will continue to raise at City Hall please check my website or follow me on Twitter.

Thank you so much for your email and please be assured that the Liberal Democrats will fully support an increase in funding for cycling at our budget meeting next Monday.

Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon AM

Chair of the Transport Committee

Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group"

The links in the email dont work with a cut and paste sorry.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [460 posts]
20th February 2013 - 12:24

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"dear cyclist" - nice touch.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
20th February 2013 - 16:48

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Both Labour candidates have also sent out exactly the same message as eachother, a bit lazy of them if you ask me.
What was sent
"Thank you for your email regarding an extra £41m for cycling.

I wanted to let you know that this is something that the Labour Group of London Assembly members has been campaigning for.

In November last year we fully were in the forefront of the Transport Committee’s call for more money for cycling. You can view the report here.

The report called for;

· doubling funding for cycling in TfL’s transport budget

· timetabling an action plan for the east-west cycle ‘super corridor’

· appointing a commissioner to champion cycling;

· more space on London's roads for cyclists, including using the experience of Games Lanes during London 2012

· developing a plan to ensure all children in London receive cycle training

This year we have gone further and have proposed an extra £41m for cycling in our budget submission. We said;

“Increased cycling also forms part of Labour’s vision for the future of London’s transport mix. Only 2% of journeys in London are made by bicycle, a lower proportion than other UK cities such as Bristol, and significantly less than the Netherlands – where 26% of journeys are made by bicycle[1]. To significantly improve London’s performance, greater efforts are required than the Mayor’s unambitious target of increasing cycling to 5% of journeys by 2026[2]. Given this, and in line with the recommendations of the London Assembly Transport Committee’s 2012 Gearing Up report in to cycling in the capital, Labour propose to allocate £145m to cycling in the 2013/14 budget[3], £41 million more than the Mayor has chosen to provide.”

The Labour Group has actively been supporting calls for the removal of fast traffic gyratory schemes around London and for physical improvements to improve safety of cyclists and pedestrians on our road network. We support the London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Go Dutch’ vision for the future of London’s urban environment. We are also keen to promote more 20mph zones across London.

I fully support calls for more investment in cycling in London and can confirm that I will be supporting the motion calling on the mayor to amend his budget to find that extra £41 million for cycling.

Best wishes,

Tom Copley AM
Labour London Assembly Member (Londonwide)"

This was also sent out by

"Fiona Twycross AM

Londonwide Assembly Member (Labour)"

3 hours later

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [460 posts]
22nd February 2013 - 20:54

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