5 Subject: Mayors Question Time Report of: Director of Secretariat 1472 / 2003 Pensioners Travel Pass




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GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY

London Assembly

17 September 2003

Report No: 5

Subject: Mayors Question Time

Report of: Director of Secretariat



1472 / 2003 - Pensioners Travel Pass

Darren Johnson

Would it be possible to allow pensioners to use their pensioners' travel pass before 9am as those with hospital appointments, for example, are greatly inconvenienced by the current set-up?


The Freedom Pass is provided and controlled by the London Boroughs.


Since earlier this year all disabled Freedom Pass holders have travelled free throughout the day including the AM peak. The Boroughs are compensating TfL for this.


The Boroughs have indicated that they are not willing to pay for pensioners to be able to use their pensioner’s travel pass before 9am.



1473 / 2003 - Provision of bus shelter outside Fairfield Halls in Croydon

Andrew Pelling

What is the target date for the introduction of a bus shelter for passengers waiting for departing buses outside Fairfield Halls in Croydon?


London Buses anticipates that this shelter will be installed at the end of November.


This site has presented very challenging circumstances and it has required a great deal of co-operation between London Buses and Croydon Council to achieve a way forward. 1474 / 2003 - Community Self-build

Darren Johnson

What role do you see for community self-build projects within your plans for additional housing capacity? What practical and strategic support are your officers giving to such initiatives?


Only very modest numbers of self-build homes have been built in London over the last 30 years. Given London’s acute housing needs, whilst self build can play a part, it is likely to continue to make only a very small contribution to future housing supply.


My draft London Plan seeks to identify and bring forward additional housing capacity to help meet London’s acute housing needs, but it does not seek to allocate any such land to self build projects, as this would go beyond my current remit and powers.


1475 / 2003 - The Londoner

Darren Johnson

At Mayor's Question Time on 20 November 2002 you said, "And what I said to the GLA and Tfl and LDA was that in finding money to pay for this, I expect you to stop doing other things. An awful lot of leaflets, brochures are produced, particularly in TfL, most of which I don't think have much impact, whereas a well-produced newspaper, coming through people's letterboxes every two months, is much more likely to be picked up and read, if it's professionally produced and interesting." However, a report to the Budget Committee on 17 July 2003 referred to a £163K overspend on Core GLA postage costs which reflected a "higher than anticipated level of activity particualrly in relation to bulk mailing of documents and publications" and a £79K overspend on Core GLA printing costs which reflected "the large number of publications produced during the year." Why, in spite of the assurances you gave the Assembly, has publication of the Londoner not resulted in cost savings in the production and distribution of other GLA publications?


The GLA has ceased production of Londonline, a separate publication for stakeholders. Furthermore the publication and distribution of the Best Value Performance Plan Summary has been absorbed into the Londoner. However, as I said on 20 November, a lot of the publications that can be replaced by the Londoner are produced by TfL.


There was an overspend on postage and printing in 2002/03 and this related to a range of other publications, many of which are statutory such as my strategies and annual reports, as well as a variety of well received ad hoc reports such as London Divided. At present all postage costs are met from a central budget. My officers are examining ways of making the post room function more efficient, and charging the cost of postage for particular publications to the budget for those publications.

1476 / 2003 - St. John's Station

Darren Johnson

Can TfL make repesentations to Network Rail about the urgent need replace St. John's Station roof and ask them to advise of a likely start date?


Can you press for the installation of a ticket machine at St. John's station?


My understanding of the current situation is that the roof at St Johns Station is in extremely poor repair. However, work has started to repair and replace it. There has been some delay in the start date for this work as the station is in a conservation area and consultation was necessary with a number of heritage groups before work could commence.


Regarding the ticket machine, I am advised that there was a machine at St Johns but it was stolen approximately 2 years ago. The train operator did not consider that the level of ticket transactions at the machine warranted its replacement. However when London Metro station standards are rolled out to St Johns an increased level of security and station facilities will be introduced and this would be an ideal time to review the provision of ticket issuing facilities.

1477 / 2003 - Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Darren Johnson

Are you disappointed by Havering's negative attitude towards hydrogen fuel cell technology following its rejection of a planning application for a hydrogen refuelling station? Given TfL's involvement in the hydrogen fuel cell bus pilot scheme will you be giving evidence if there is a planning appeal?


I am clearly disappointed that the London Borough of Havering has refused BP planning permission. TfL will support any appeal that BP decide to submit.


Separate arrangements have been put in place by BP to allow the three TfL Fuel Cell buses to be fuelled when they are delivered later this year.

1478 / 2003 - Richmond UDP and Waste

Darren Johnson

Given that your waste strategy is directed towards securing much higher levels of recycling of dry materials and composting and reinforces the "self-sufficiency" and "proximity" principles, are you concerned by Richmond's proposals to relocate the council's waste/recycling depot onto a much smaller site? What representations are you making on this?


Yes I am concerned as the loss or reduction of any waste or recycling site is of concern.


The latest version of the Richmond UDP indicates that the borough’s existing waste handling and recycling facilities at Twickenham and Townmead Road will be retained. 40,000 tonnes of waste a year is delivered to the Waste and Recycling centre at Townmead Road, which has recently been redeveloped to provide operational and environmental improvements.


Officers have been made aware of the pressure on the current site by nearby residents. It is likely that these are being made by residents in the newly built properties on the former Kew Sewage Treatment Works. Any amenity issues arising from these adjacent uses should have been considered as part of the process of granting permission for the adjacent site.


If the borough wishes to relocate the depot onto a new site it is likely that the planning applications to achieve this would be referable to me under the Mayor of London Order 2000. I will be concerned to ensure that any relocation proposals do not compromise the ability of the Borough to meet the policies/proposal in the West London Waste Authority’s Waste Management Strategy and in my draft Waste Strategy.

1479 / 2003 - East London River Crossing

Jenny Jones

What legal advice have you, or TfL, or the DfT, received on the legality of a differential tolls regime for the proposed bridge, covering the question of having local tolls at a lower rate than other tolls? Can you identify any other bridge scheme where local tolls have been approved by the government? Given this advice, why are your officials still selling the local tolls idea as part of the public consultation exercise?


TfL has been advised that the general principle of differential tolling is lawful. Further work is now in hand to explore the tolling options that are available to TfL.


1480 / 2003 - North Circular blight

Jenny Jones

How many houses will be sold as a result of TfL reassessing the safeguard line for the widening of the North Circular to 6 lanes? How many houses and properties will remain within the safeguarding line and how much would it cost TfL if they were required to buy all the properties which they don't already own? Does TfL have a reserve fund to deal with this likelyhood and if so, how much is it?


The safeguarding of the former Highway Agency dual 3 lane scheme would allow approximately 50 houses to be sold as they would not be affected by the proposals. However, over 400 units (residential, commercial properties and vacant parcels of land) would remain within the safeguarded area and be required for the scheme. TfL owns some but not all of these properties and it is estimated that it would cost about £12 million to buy the properties not already owned.


TfL does not have a reserve fund for this property acquisition. An allowance for property acquisition will be included in the bid to government for funds for the dual 3 lane scheme in the Spending Review 2004 round. 1482 / 2003 - East London River Crossing

Repeat1484 / 2003 - Allotments Officers

Darren Johnson

One of the suggestions at the Allotments conference I held at City Hall recently was that the GLA to establish a formal network of borough allotments officers in London. Are you willing to establish such a network, as you have done in other areas of policy?


I am in favour of the principle of such a network. The London Parks and Green Spaces Forum brings together a range of partners, including the GLA and the boroughs to consider open space issues at the strategic level. This includes consideration of a wide variety of topics ranging from planning to management of open spaces. A Director was appointed earlier this year to develop the forum further. It might be that this partnership is the best placed for taking this forward. 1485 / 2003 - City Hall

Jenny Jones

Why is it necessary for people using a wheelchair to come into the building through loading bay G?


If a wheelchair user accesses City Hall by taxi or private vehicle the landlord’s approved access to the building, is via the GLA’s disabled car parking area on the lower ground floor.


There is wheelchair access to the front door of City Hall via the The Queen's Walk.1486 / 2003 -City Hall

Jenny Jones

Why do the lifts not all work at the same time?


An electronic car dispatcher selects the nearest lift car to the landing where a button has been pushed. This car dispatcher selects the most appropriate lift to reduce passenger waiting time.1487 / 2003 - City Hall

Jenny Jones CS

Why do the lifts keep breaking down?


The lifts are operating correctly since their recommissioning in October 2002, which was paid for by the landlord. The breakdown which have been experienced since this time are within normal tolerances of a lift installation of this type. A comprehensive maintenance contract is in place to ensure that any breakdown disruption will be kept to a minimum. 1488 / 2003 - City Hall

Jenny Jones

When will the emergency stairs be fit for general use?


The two staircases in the east and west cores are fit for purpose. They are designed as emergency egress stairs and have been approved by the local Building Control department. The recent inspections by the fire safety officer have also confirmed their acceptability for general use.


However, the GLA is planning a project to redecorate the two staircases. This is subject to financial planning and will follow the result of staff consultation and would involve painting walls and carpeting.1489 / 2003 - City Hall

Jenny Jones

How much money has been spent since July 2002 on 'the rectification of construction related defects for City Hall'? (as described in London @ Work)


Rectification of construction defects has been undertaken by the landlord’s construction team. The landlord has not disclosed these costs to the GLA.1490 / 2003 - A Bridge too Far

Jenny Jones

If the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge is a local road, why won't you give a 100% guarantee that there will be no large grade-separated junctions (flyovers) at each end of the approach roads, as these would not be required if this was a purely local link?


The Thames Gateway Bridge is primarily a local link between Beckton and Thamesmead.


Given at both ends of the bridge demand may feed in from more than one road the planning work for the bridge will need to ensure adequate capacity at the junctions, as well as take account of environmental impacts, and allow for regeneration plans. The final design will need to also take account of consultation findings.1491 / 2003 - A Bridge too Far

Jenny Jones

Will you guarantee that the additional public transport lanes for the Thames Gateway Bridge will be segregated off from the other four lanes and that they will run to the side of roadway in order to ensure that no future Mayor or Minister will turn them into extra lanes for car traffic?


The proposals are for the public transport lanes to be segregated at each end of the bridge with separate ramps. 1492 / 2003 - Composting

Darren Johnson

The Composting Association has listed eight demonstration best practice composting sites but none of these are near to London. How do you propose to rectify this?


There are a number of great composting sites in and around London, and there are new ones being developed as a result of funding from the London Recycling Fund but we need more and we want to improve standards. London Remade in partnership with Cleanaway are currently already operating a showcase facility at Rainham in Havering to promote composting and the use of compost based products. The site process around 50,000 tonnes per year. The facility demonstrates a range of composting practices in operation including traditional 'windrow' system to specialised in-vessel systems including Sirocco containers and the GORE system operating on a trail scale at the site.


The project is working to develop a wide range of products which to date with products having been used for bioremediation, soil regeneration and landscaping projects in several high profile landscaping projects in London, including the Millennium Dome and Canary Wharf.

1493 / 2003 - Pesticides and Weed Killers

Darren Johnson

Over 80 common garden pesticides and weed killers have recently been outlawed and will have to be disposed of by local councils. Most councils are unaware of this and have no plans for their disposal, a survey found. What discussions have you had with London Boroughs on the safe disposal of these?


Some garden chemicals are classified as hazardous waste. After the end of their life these products need to be safely disposed of. In London, the Corporation of London leads a Londonwide hazardous waste collection and disposal service for arisings in the household waste stream. All London boroughs use this service with the exception of Hillingdon, who make their own arrangements within their borough. Residents are entitled to up to three collections of 50 litres in volume or 50kg in weight of chemicals per household per year. Most boroughs provide this service free to residents but a few charge an administration fee. I propose in my strategy that this should be free to all.1494 / 2003 - Section 106
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