Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Response from the Green London Assembly Members

Following our emails to members of the London Assembly expressing our concern about the lobbying from Canary Wharf, I received this email from the Darren Johnson AM (also responding on behalf of Jenny Jones AM):

Many thanks for your message. I am responding on behalf of the Green Assembly Members, myself and Jenny Jones AM.  
I share your concerns about the scale and ferocity of the lobbying from some sections of the business community against the plans for an East-West cycling superhighway. This is a long over-due addition to making cycling safer in London and has our support.  Whilst the Canary Wharf Group have every right to lobby against a particular transport project as part of the democratic process, it is nevertheless still very disappointing that they hold such outdated views and that they expending time and energy actively blocking key measures that will improve cyclists' safety in London. Thankfully, the public consultation has generated a strong reaction amongst those businesses which are keen to support the superhighway and I will be pressing the Mayor not to dilute the plans. 
I also share your concern at the apparent attempt by the Canary Wharf Group to keep the lobbying anonymous, especially when a leading member of the Transport for London Board has not declared his affiliation to the strong views of his employers. The Assembly's Transport Committee which I sit on was assured that legal advice was being sought on this, following complaints. Whatever the outcome of the legal advice on the position of Peter Anderson, it would be unimaginable that any member of the Board should not be asked to declare them.  As chair of TfL's Finance and Policy committee, Peter Anderson is clearly in a very influential position. The key issue for me is the issue pecuniary interest, with Mr Anderson being seen to advocate a position which he believes is in the commercial interests of his employers. Such a pecuniary interest would appear to make his position untenable in chairing or taking part in any discussion on this at the TfL board. I will be pursuing this matter formally with the Mayor. 
On the wider issue of the superhighways, it is clear from many of the Mayor's recent answers to my formal written questions that between three or four more highways will be built by May 2016, when Boris Johnson's term as Mayor comes to an end. He will have failed to deliver on the promise to build 12 superhighways which he made back in 2009. A promise he repeated, with the addition of the East-West superhighway, in his manifesto of 2012. My concern is that most of the current projects contained in the cycling vision, including the superhighways, will not be finished by 2016 and could be abandoned by an incoming Mayor.  
The plans for better junctions and the initial three mini-Holland schemes also need the support of everyone who believes that safer cycling is one of the key priorities for reducing traffic congestion and pollution in London. Whilst I can understand why defending the proposal for an East-West superhighway is particularly important, I am also keen not to lose sight of the bigger picture. 
Promoting cycling and decreasing road danger have been consistent priorities for the Greens on the London Assembly and will continue to remain so. If you would like to be kept informed about our work on cycling then please email Rachel.Carlill@London.gov.uk and we will add you to our email circulation list (emails are approximately once a month). Please be assured of our continued commitment to making our streets safer and more attractive for cyclists through our work with cycling campaigners, through putting pressure on the Mayor and TfL and through our formal committee work here at City Hall.

Darren Johnson AM
Green Party Member
London Assembly
City Hall
Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA
020 7983 4388

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