Dominic introduced Jenny Jones, Green GLA member and former Deputy Mayor of London, Environmental Advisor to the Mayor of London, Green Transport advisor to the Mayor of London, Sustainable Development advisor to the Mayor of London and other things. However, all that has abruptly ceased, and she is now just a GLA member without even any budgetary influence, as the conservatives have an absolute majority.
She believed that Transport for London had, under the previous regime, finally got the message that large-scale cycling could offer a way out of the kinds of huge investment that would be needed in London in coming years to cater for the transport demands of the projected population. Whether the new administration would see it that way she didn’t know.
She outlined both the previous regime’s (considerable) impact on cycling, and its intended future plans, noting that, while the annual budget negotiated by the previous mayor should still hold for the next 8 months, the new mayor is already changing it as he goes along. She hoped that events like Freewheel, scheduled for Sept 22nd, would still therefore go ahead, though there is no guarantee.
She described her disappointment at the rather unambitious TfL target for increasing cycling to 5% of all journeys by 2025. She’d tried to encourage them to go for something more challenging, but failed. It may all be in the past now anyway, as the new mayor hasn’t said anything about keeping such an objective.
She was, however, slightly optimistic about the future for both the cycling ‘clearways’ and the London Velib scheme, both of which had been endorsed by the new mayor before election. He didn’t mention the Cycling Zones, though, so it’s not clear what he thinks about them.
On the other hand, she does expect to see both the Low Emission Zone and the £25 congestion charge rate scrapped, with a further ‘consultation’ about the western extension to the congestion charge zone. Not clear how that would go, as residents would now be quite keen.
She was much of the opinion that the new mayor is very much not his own man, being altogether under Conservative Central Office control. It was agreed that he couldn’t possibly be allowed to fail.
Finally Jenny asked us to do two things (she said three, but there are really only two). Firstly, ask lots of mayoral questions, either through her or the lib dems or any of the labour GLAssembly members who are London-wide. These questions come up once a month and it is essential to keep environmental issues generally on the agenda.
Secondly, she encouraged us to stay involved, and singled out the Community and Police Liaison Group as a good example. That, she said, is the only forum where we have any say in how policing priorities are set, so if we want things done about bike theft or ASL violation, those meetings are the only opportunity.
She was thanked, and everyone had a glass of the wine thoughtfully provided by Stefano.
Report by James Brander