Sixty-Seventh Mayor’s Report to the Assembly




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Item 4

London Assembly

13 December 2006


Sixty-Seventh Mayor’s Report to the Assembly

Author: The Mayor


This is my sixty-seventh report to the Assembly, fulfilling my duty under Section 45 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It covers the period from 2-29 November 2006


Review of Powers


Greater London Authority Bill


On 28 November the Greater London Authority Bill was published. This Bill enacts the statutory elements of the Government’s announcement in July on the review of the powers of the Mayor of London and London Assembly. The 2006/07 parliamentary session will also include a Further Education Bill. The proposed changes in these Bills will strengthen the role of the office of Mayor of London in the areas of housing, planning, learning and skills, waste and climate change, as well as strengthening the role of the London Assembly.


The GLA Bill follows a year-long review of the powers of the Mayor and London Assembly. It builds on the widely recognised success of London government since it was re-established in 2000, under a strong, accountable Mayoralty.


The proposed changes allow my Office to set a London Housing Strategy and decide the broad allocation of investment in new affordable housing in London. This will support achievement of my target of providing at least 305,000 new homes by 2017, of which 50 per cent are affordable. The proposed changes will enable my Office to exert more influence over a small number of large-scale strategic planning applications in London. At present I has the power to direct refusal of such applications; in future I would be able to approve them as well. This will help support delivery of housing and other significant regeneration projects in London. Over 99 per cent of planning applications will continue to be decided by boroughs without my involvement.


With regards to waste management and recycling, London has the worst record on recycling and litter of all English regions and relies on sending waste to landfill in surrounding regions. The Government’s package does not address the failings of the existing governance arrangements. I will support amendments to the GLA Bill to create a Single Waste Authority to manage London’s waste and introduce clauses to ensure I can tackle litter in the capital.


London is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and must play its part in tackling the significant environmental challenges that the UK faces. The GLA Bill will give my Office a stronger statutory role in tackling climate change and helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


London’s economy is growing quickly, but it continues to have the lowest employment rate. My role on skills and employment to help meet these major challenges, by creating a new London Skills and Employment Board, which I will chair.


Finally, concerning the Authority’s governance arrangements, the new measures will lead to a better structured and staffed GLA, enhanced relationships with the functional bodies and improved delivery of my strategic priorities for London.


Transport


T2025 Report


On 28 November, I set out a 20-year transport programme aimed at ensuring London's future economic prosperity. Transport for London's T2025 report highlights the importance of sustained investment and sets out ways that the impact of transport on the environment can be reduced.


London's economy is expected to grow by 900,000 jobs, and its population by 800,000 people, in the next two decades. This translates into 4 million extra journeys a day. 300,000 of these new jobs will be in central London including the City, Docklands and the West End.


London's transport infrastructure will need to adapt to this challenge, alongside the parallel imperative of reducing carbon emissions to deal with climate change. The T2025 package includes a climate change action plan, and sets out the need for substantial ongoing investment in public transport together with measures to increase cycling and walking. This equates to a projected 9 per cent shift to public transport, cycling and walking over a 20-year period - building on the 4 per cent shift that has taken place in the last six years. The essential projects for Transport for London include completing the rebuilding of the Tube through the PPP, the building of Crossrail, and expanding the bus network by a further 40 per cent.


London is a successful city that makes an enormous contribution to the wealth of the UK. The continued development and economic growth of London will mean that by 2025 the transport system will have to cope with demand for an extra four million trips a day. So investment in the network, including the Crossrail project, is essential to the economic health of the whole UK.


Low Emission Zone consultation

On 13 November I announced the start of detailed consultation by TfL on the proposed Londonwide Low Emission Zone. The scheme is aimed at reducing emissions from the most polluting diesel engine lorries, coaches, buses, heavier vans and minibuses.


A Low Emission Zone scheme would aim to improve London's air quality, and thereby improve Londoners' health, by encouraging operators of large diesel vehicles to clean up their fleets.


From 2008, diesel engine lorries, coaches and buses that fail to meet a minimum pollution standard would have to pay a charge if they drive within Greater London. Such a charge would be designed to act as an effective incentive for operators to modify or replace dirty vehicles.

The Low Emission Zone could go live as early as February 2008. It is also proposed that by 2010 the scheme would be extended to heavier diesel engine light goods vehicles and minibuses.  From 2012 the emissions standard for Heavy Goods Vehicles, buses and coaches would be tightened to Euro IV standards for particulate matter.


Transport for London has published a scheme order and consultation on the plans will run until 2 February 2007. Explanatory notes and leaflets for both the public and for operators have been produced by TfL to inform the consultation process. Following the consultation I will decide whether or not to confirm the proposals with or without modifications.

London suffers the worst air quality in the UK and amongst the worst in Europe. We want people living, working and visiting London to benefit from better air quality and to live longer and healthier lives.


Emissions-based congestion charging scheme


On 14 November, I further announced that I will take forward the policy of reducing London's C02 emissions by introducing emissions-based charging to the existing congestion charge scheme.


The proposals, to be consulted upon, could see the most polluting cars pay to enter the congestion charging zone, and lower polluting vehicles qualifying for a 100 per cent discount.


Under the emissions-based Congestion Charging proposals, the following charges would apply:


Vehicle Excise Duty Band Charge

A and B (less than 120g CO2 per km) which meet Euro IV standard £0 (100 per cent discount)

C, D, E, F £8 (as now)

G (above 225g CO2 per km) £25


Subject to this consultation, it is proposed that the 100 per cent discount for the least polluting vehicles will be introduced in 2008. The surcharge for band G vehicles that emit the most C02 is expected to be possible from 2009/10, although I have asked Transport for London to examine the possibility of an earlier start date.


The 90 per cent resident's discount currently enjoyed by those living within the congestion charging zone would be withdrawn for vehicles in band G.


Londoners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to tackle climate change and reduce C02 emissions. Most vehicles that will be charged £25, in Vehicle Excise Duty Band G, are high priced models. Those who buy them can afford to choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream car market but have chosen to buy one of the most polluting vehicles.  By making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of new car on the environment.


We are already cleaning up London's fleet of public vehicles through measures like the introduction of hybrid buses. These new proposals will tackle pollution from private vehicles, and ensure that London is leading the way in the fight against catastrophic climate change.


Metronet Annual Report


On 16 November the Office of the PPP Arbiter published its first Metronet Annual Report. The report was asked for by Metronet, with the Arbiter being asked to assess how the company’s two infracos, Metronet Rail BCV and Metronet Rail SSL had performed their renewal and maintenance activities


The PPP Arbiter found that overall Metronet had not performed in an overall economic and efficient manner or in line with Good Industry Practice. The Arbiter’s finding is consistent with TfL and London Underground commentary and reports on Metronet performance. The PPP Arbiter’s report also found that Metronet is forecasting a cost overrun over the first 7 ½ year period of the PPP of the order of £750 million.


The PPP Arbiter's Metronet Annual Report is guidance. It does not lead to any financial determination. It is simply an assessment of whether the Metronet companies have or have not performed their activities to date in an overall efficient and economic manner and in accordance with Good Industry Practice.


TfL has repeated its call for the shareholders of Metronet – Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water – to take action to improve Metronet's performance and deliver the improvements promised to Londoners and Tube users, on time and on budget.


The PPP Arbiter's report confirms that, despite the massive investment in renewing the Underground, Metronet is failing to deliver the quality and efficiency for which it is being very generously paid under the PPP. Metronet has failed to deliver the programme of station refurbishment and its over-runs on maintenance work have repeatedly delayed services for passengers.


I disagreed with the PPP, and particularly its enormous cost, but we are doing all we can to make it work in the interests of Londoners. In the case of Metronet this simply is not happening. London's Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy and London Underground Managing Director Tim O’Toole have also both renewed their concerns over the Metronet shareholder companies failure to deliver on their promises to London.

Cross River Tram consultation


On 20 November, I was joined by the London Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy to launch a TfL consultation asking people for their views on potential routes for the proposed Cross River Tram.


The Cross River Tram would run between Euston and Waterloo, with branches to Camden Town and King’s Cross in the north, and Brixton and Peckham in the south. Trams would arrive every two minutes at central stops (Euston to Waterloo), and every four minutes at outer stops (Camden, King's Cross, Peckham and Brixton). Subject to future funding, the tram could be operational by 2016.


The scheme promotes economic regeneration and social inclusion in parts of the capital that have experienced decades of underinvestment in transport, creating jobs, sustaining businesses and improving access to work, education and healthcare facilities.  It will also improve the transport network by moving people quickly, comfortably and efficiently across London and relieve other crowded routes such as the Northern line.


As well as the economic investment and transport benefits, Cross River Tram will also result in an enhanced public realm along the routes it will serve.  We will work with boroughs to provide major transport improvements for Londoners as part of the major regeneration of King’s Cross, Elephant & Castle, Brixton and Southwark.


TfL is asking for views on route options on seven sections of the route.  Euston to Camden, Euston to King’s Cross, Waterloo to Oval, Oval to Brixton, Brixton town centre, Waterloo to Peckham and Peckham town centre in south and central London.  The consultation will run from 21 November 2006 until 30 January 2007.


Langdon Park DLR station


Construction work has now begun on a new Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station at Langdon Park, which will provide much-needed access to public transport for thousands of Tower Hamlets residents and local businesses.


This new station will play a key role in the regeneration of this area, opening up access to jobs and housing. It comes after the extension of the DLR to City Airport and will be followed by extensions to Woolwich Arsenal and Stratford International.


Situated between All Saints and Devons Road stations on the DLR route to Stratford the £7.5m station has been jointly funded by the government’s Community Infrastructure Fund and Leaside Regeneration, in recognition of the huge benefits it will bring to the local area and communities.


2007 Fares package


Following my announcement of my proposals for the 2007 fares package in September, I have directed TfL to implement my agreed revisions to fares on the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, London Buses and the Croydon Tramlink to prices for Travelcards valid on all these modes and National Rail Services in the London area and for certain National Rail train- tube combined fares.


The bulk of these proposals will take place from 2 January 2007. One proposal, in relation to Underground Oystercard use will commence on 19 November 2006.


Road safety figures


The latest figures released by TfL show that London is well on the way to meeting the new 2010 road safety targets announced last year.


In the 12 months to the end of June 2006 there has been a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the Capital’s roads, compared with the Government’s road safety baseline (the average number of KSIs between 1994 and 1998).


In addition, the number of child KSIs has fallen by 58 per cent, the number of cyclist KSIs has fallen by 30 per cent and the number of slight casualties has fallen by 32 per cent.


This is a clear indication of the effect of the increased investment in road safety has had in making our roads safer. Any death or injury remains unacceptable, however, and Transport for London is working with the Police and the boroughs to reduce road accidents even further.


Shattered Lives road safety campaign


Dreams of 2012 are being tapped into by TfL in a new hard-hitting cinema advertisement, designed to warn teens of the dangers they face everyday on London's roads.


The new ad, entitled "Shattered Lives", is the latest in TfL's award winning "Don't die before you've lived" campaign and was premiered for the first time at screenings of the new James Bond film, Casino Royale.


The campaign aims to alert teens to the consequences of not paying attention when near to or using roads. The move to secondary school, and the increase in independent travel that tends to goes with it, means that young teenagers (11-14 year olds) are more likely to be involved in a road collision than any other age group.

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