Mayor urged to rethink his transport funding cuts

Published: Friday 15th December 17

Senior councillors in Wandsworth have urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to reverse a series of major funding cuts to transport projects.

Councillors have expressed dismay that long standing Transport for London projects are now being axed or put on ice at the 11th hour, despite pledges are recently as last year that they would go ahead.

TfL has announced that five year business plans, approved in 2016 are now being re-written and major infrastructure projects shelved.

According to briefings given by senior TfL officials, the funding cuts mean that potholes and carriageway defects on major arterial roads (red routes) in Wandsworth will not be repaired until they are “safety critical”.

And the TfL officials also confirmed that over the next two years spending on routine maintenance on the borough’s red routes will be cut to zero.

Funding from TfL to support the council’s routine maintenance of main roads in Wandsworth that are not red routes will also be cut to zero in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

In total funding pledges to transport schemes in Wandsworth of over £600,000 have been lost next year with TfL warning that the same can be expected the following year.

Projects now under threat include the Tooting Bec Common Quietways cycle scheme while plans for an environmental improvement project in Putney High Street will be delayed, while budgets to tackle congestion on local red routes including Trinity Road, Burntwood Lane and Roehampton lane have been cut or scaled back.

In addition, plans to provide new modernised trains on the Northern Line have also been deferred to an as yet undeclared date.

The picture in Wandsworth is not unique. Similar briefings have been given to other London boroughs and the issue was discussed last week at a meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee of London Councils – the umbrella group that represents the 33 London boroughs.

At that meeting representatives from the 33 boroughs were told that projects across the capital were being dramatically scaled back.

Of particular concern was the proposed 13 per cent cut in funding for London’s Taxicard scheme which provides support to vulnerable and disabled people in the capital who cannot easily use public transport.

Wandsworth’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “The Mayor really needs to rethink his whole approach to transport if he wants to avoid travel chaos across London.

“Some desperately needed projects to keep Londoners on the move are either being axed completely or drastically scaled back.

“The idea that TfL will spend money repairing red routes only when they become dangerous is as short-sighted as it is foolhardy and bad news for cyclists in particular.

“And his proposal to slash funding for taxicards for disabled people threatens to take away the only link to the outside world that some vulnerable Londoners have.

“The Mayor was repeatedly warned when he announced his fares freeze that it would leave a big hole in his transport budget, and we are now beginning to see those chickens coming home to roost. He needs to get a grip on his finances, draw up some sensible business plans and stop short changing London’s transport network.”

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Recent comments

TFL projects being axed - whilst private bus companies being set up. Have seen London Hire busses locally (mostly empty) and another route set up by Ford called Chariot soon to arrive - claiming to cover Main Line & Underground stations - 'routes not covered by existing services' as they put it - no wonder our roads are congested. No bus is going to go exactly where every one of us want to go - and my local bus service 170 has been closed in 2 places - until 'further notice' and the other April. Rather a shame nothing is ever done about 'idling' motor vehicles - Chelsea have signs up threatening fines for 'idling'.
Liz D

19 December 2017

This is totally false economy, when people start suing for injuries caused by these potholes getting even bigger especially if they become hidden by snow.
Angela Stroud

16 December 2017

So, over the next two years, zero maintenance by TFL on Red Routes, and zero funding from them for other main roads in the borough - in total a loss of £660K this year, and the same next. Presumably at least in part the result of giving WBC £725K towards the £820K cost (estimate - reality unknown) of implementing the pointless borough-wide 20 mph speed limit...pointless because even if you think it's a good idea, there's no chance of the police doing much enforcement - by their own admission they don't have the resources. The Council are desperately hoping that local residents will do it for them instead; hmmm, great idea - set one group of people against another, that'll turn out well.
Osmund Bullock

16 December 2017

Transport in London improved greatly under Mayor Livingstone. Regardless of the cuts possibly necessary under the current Government, I still believe London has one of the best transport systems in Europe. And I use it frequently.
susan lofthouse

15 December 2017

This is disheartening news. London is a city of over 8 m residents which extends horizontally over a vast territory. Its excellent transport system, inclusive of cycle lanes, walkways and what else should be preserved even at extra expense. There are other cities in various countries, which offer a picture of the results of poor infrastructure. I have lived extensively in one of them. London's system is excellent, it behoves the powers that be to keep it that way.
Ira Levin

15 December 2017