Transport for London (TfL) has announced a two-year moratorium on ‘non-essential road improvements’ in the face of central Government funding cuts.
The office of London mayor Sadiq Khan has criticised both the Government and former mayor Boris Johnson for the withdrawal of a grant worth £700m per year, as well as an ‘unfair’ decision to spend the £500m raised every year through Londoners’ Vehicle Excise Duty on roads outside the capital from 2021.
An arterial road in London
It announced that ‘all non-essential road improvements have been paused for two years’, adding that ‘while TfL will ensure roads are kept safe, this lack of proactive work could lead to an increase in disruption on the roads with increased closures and speed, size and weight restrictions’.
Although a spokesperson for TfL said that this was in its latest (December 2017) Business Plan, that document does not appear to make so explicit a statement.
It states: ‘Our investment in maintenance and renewals aims to ensure network safety and provide a serviceable level of “state of good repair” for all highway assets, including carriageways, footways, traffic signals, bridges, tunnels, street lighting, drainage and trees. Given the end to Government funding of the road network, this will mean a slight dip in asset condition from current levels. Activities will be prioritised using a risk-based approach so we get the best results for our investment.’
In a speech on Wednesday (21 February) London's deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross, said: ‘Our capital is the beating heart of the UK and our roads are the arteries, so it’s just astounding that the Government is not only prepared to take away vital funding but make London’s drivers pay for roads outside the capital.
‘It’s vital that the Government uses its spring Statement next month to reinstate TfL’s funding and keep the capital moving.’