Taxi drivers U-turn on legal challenge over London cycle lanes


Transport for London (TfL) is facing a legal challenge from taxi drivers over disruption caused during construction of the Embankment Cycle Superhighway.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has lodged an application for a judicial review over the route, claiming TfL should have sought planning permission before beginning construction, rather than the highways coming under permitted development rules.

It comes despite the LTDA earlier this year dropping plans to launch a legal challenge over mayor Boris Johnson’s Crossrail for the Bike scheme, which will offer cyclists two segregated routes across the centre of the capital.

At the time, LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara said he didn’t want to issue a judicial review and delay the scheme by a year, only for a cyclist to ‘get killed in Parliament Square’.

Mr McNamara added: ‘I don’t want blood on my hands’.

The latest legal challenge comes despite construction already being underway on the Embankment highway.

LTDA chair, Richard Massett, told the Evening Standard: ‘We’re in favour of safe cycling like everybody else but we can't quite understand what the mayor and TfL are trying to do by gridlocking the roads. It could have been done in a better way and kept traffic moving.

‘Roads are there to move goods and people around, and they've been gridlocked for the rest of London road users.’

Responding to the news, Howard Carter, general counsel of TfL, said: ‘We have received the LTDA’s Judicial Review claim and, despite having addressed their points previously, will respond formally in due course.

‘Construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway is progressing well and although we are having to work hard to manage areas of temporary congestion around the construction sites, the end result will make London’s roads safer for all, particularly cyclists.’

Road safety charity Brake tweeted to say the legal challenge was ‘a great shame’.

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