late October MQT answers

Barnet Council

Question No: 2018/2780

Andrew Dismore

Have you read the report by Grant Thornton into the alleged regeneration fraud at Barnet Council? What were your conclusions, and what do you think the impact will be on regeneration in Barnet?

Written response from the Mayor

I have not read the report. From my understanding of its content, however, it will clearly have an immediate financial impact. The council must deal with it correctly to ensure it will not have a negative impact more broadly on future regeneration plans.

Barnet Council food waste collections

Question No: 2018/2781

Andrew Dismore

Barnet Council has now voted to suspend separate food waste collections, despite your comments at last Mayor’s Question Time. What action have you, or do you, propose to take as a result?

Written response from the Mayor

I opposed Barnet Council’s original decision to terminate its food waste service. My London Environment Strategy is very clear that all boroughs should offer separate food waste collections by 2020 and it is right that Barnet Council, after discussions with the GLA, has now agreed that there will only be a temporary suspension to the food waste collection service and that it will reinstate the service in line with this requirement.

My officers have been working with Barnet Council’s officers to ensure that their action is in line with the requirements of my London Environment Strategy. They have also agreed to my suggestion that they undertake an independent review of their recycling collection services to establish where greater efficiencies and improvements to services could be made. Having taken legal advice I have, albeit reluctantly, therefore agreed that the service be temporarily suspended.

My officers will continue to work with Barnet Council to ensure that the review is undertaken in line with the agreed timeline, and that the Council is taking all steps to reinstate the service by 2020 at the very latest.

Disability access to buses

Question No: 2018/2797

Andrew Dismore

Some bus passengers in non-motorised wheelchairs find bus services difficult to use. Are there any design changes that can be accommodated in new London buses that would make access easier?

Written response from the Mayor

Yes. Transport for London (TfL) is reviewing existing bus design, including opportunities for increasing the wheelchair space and the internal layout, to ease movement and improve safety. One proposed change to the current vehicle specifications is to encourage bus operators to have buses with wheelchair bays up to two metres, rather than the current 1.6 metres, where seating layouts allow. Some buses already meet this standard including the new electric buses on routes 507 and 521.

The new specification will make it easier for non-motorised wheelchair users to get in and out of the bay. The size of the bay needs to strike a balance with seating in the lower deck, as some people have difficulty standing and need to sit for part or all of their journeys.

Additionally, 95 per cent of bus stops in London are now wheelchair accessible. This means that kerb heights are appropriate to the height of the bus, there is no street furniture to block the use of the bus ramp and buses are able to access the kerb.

23,000 London bus drivers have also recently participated in dedicated customer service training including modules on customer interaction and better meeting the needs of disabled and older customers, and wheelchair users.

East Finchley main junction

Question No: 2018/2798

Andrew Dismore

How many fines have been issued for cars crossing at the junction of East Finchley High Road, Fortis Green and East End Road after the lights have turned red in the last 5 years?

Written response from the Mayor

The MPS have no record of any red light offences being reported at the stated junction.

Swiss Cottage gyratory

Question No: 2018/2811

Andrew Dismore

How many a) fatal b) serious injury and c) minor injury road collisions have there been in each of the last 5 years at Swiss Cottage gyratory on the A41; and in each case, how many were sustained by i) cyclists and ii) pedestrians?

Written response from the Mayor

For the five years to 31 December 2017, which is the latest finalised figures available, there were 57 personal injury collisions recorded at the Swiss Cottage gyratory, four serious and 53 slight. There were no fatalities recorded in this time period.

These collisions resulted in 85 people being injured including five pedestrians, who were all recorded as slightly injured, and twelve pedal cyclists, one seriously injured and eleven slightly injured.

Swiss Cottage is one of London’s most intimidating junctions, creating an unwelcoming environment for people wanting to walk or cycle and avoided by many people on foot or on a bike.

Both Transport for London and I remain committed to improving safety as soon as possible, implementing proposals that will help to protect all road users and significantly improving the area for residents, visitors and businesses.

The London Assembly’s report Hostile Streets recommended that TfL should look beyond just collision data and consider the potential to increase walking and cycling when selecting junctions to improve. I agree and our Vision Zero approach is targeting infrastructure improvements where the perception of road danger, rather than solely the number of casualties, is highest.

303 and 305 bus routes (1)

Question No: 2018/2812

Andrew Dismore

Do you agree with Transport for London’s decision to merge the 302 and 305 bus routes, with the outcome that the most deprived ward in Barnet, Burnt Oak, loses most of its bus service, whilst better off wards benefit from an improved service?

Written response from the Mayor

I do agree with Transport for London’s (TfL’s) decision, which followed a public consultation, to merge bus routes 303 and 305 to run as a single new route (303) between Kingsbury Circle and Edgware via Colindale and Mill Hill.  This was to better match capacity to demand for buses in the area while maintaining a good frequency.

I do not agree that Burnt Oak has lost most of its bus services. While sections of Deansbrook Road and Orange Hill Road have lost a lower-frequency service in the 305, the high-frequency route 302 still serves both of these, with buses every 8 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and every 12 minutes during evenings and Sundays. The revised routing of the route 303 removed some of the duplication in links with route 302, which is running with spare capacity. All roads previously served continue to be served by a bus service.

TfL estimates that the changes mean that around 320 customers per day are required to change buses to complete journeys between Honeypot Lane/Princes Avenue and Burnt Oak station/ Broadway. My Hopper fare will ensure that no passengers incur additional costs for making these journey changes.

Changes to the bus network can cause inconvenience for some passengers. Transport for London keeps the bus network under constant review, and the effects of any service changes are regularly assessed to understand if further adjustments are needed.

Golders Green transport hub

Question No: 2018/2816

Andrew Dismore

Coaches and buses passing through Golders Green transport hub have increased air pollution by concentrating large numbers of petrol and diesel buses and coaches in the area. As there is no longer enough room in the bus station some coaches bound for central London stop at the southbound bus stop in Golders Green Road, and belch out fumes, sometimes directly into the bus shelter, while the driver unloads luggage.  On the gyratory system at the junction of the North End Road, Golders Green Road and the Finchley Road the system grinds to a halt when too many coaches and buses leave or arrive in the area and buses and coaches have to queue to leave the bus station while waiting for traffic lights to change and the gyratory system to clear. What can you do to reduce this air pollution?

Written response from the Mayor

There has not been a recent increase in buses and coaches using Golders Green bus station.

Transport for London (TfL) are in the process of retrofitting thousands of buses and replacing older vehicles to meet the ULEZ standard, which will be required London wide for heavy vehicles (including buses and coaches) from October 2020. The ULEZ standard is based on the latest Euro VI standard, which reduces harmful NOx emissions by up to 95%. Many newer buses are also fitted with technology to turn off the engine automatically when stationary for more than a short period.

There can be seasonal holidays when coach numbers peak, which adds to congestion in this area. However, the bus station is staffed during the busiest morning and afternoon times to ensure drivers do not idle engines and use the space efficiently. I have asked TfL to remind staff at bus stations to ensure they address idling when they see it. Of course, if you there are any specific instances you know of where more needs to be done, I will ask TfL to follow these up.

TfL will also liaise with its coach operators about luggage unloading, although coach operator employees are normally on site at the busiest times to help passengers leave vehicles promptly and minimise queuing.

Police ward panels [1]

Question No: 2018/2823

Andrew Dismore

Is membership of police ward panels confidential; and if so why?

Written response from the Mayor

Membership of MPS Ward Panels are not confidential.

Police ward panels [2]

Question No: 2018/2824

Andrew Dismore

What criteria apply to people wishing to join a police ward panel; what is the selection or election process; are there limits on numbers; and if so what are they?

Written response from the Mayor

Ideally, the socio-demographic characteristics of the ward panel should broadly reflect that of the ward, ensuring representatives of the nine Equality Act protected characteristics. Panel should be made up of local people who live and/or work in the area and have a close connection with the area, with an ideal size of 15-20

The ward panel may also benefit from the involvement of the local ward councillor who can observe the process and contribute their local knowledge of problems. To increase participation of young people there should be more use of innovative engagement methods and better use of social media.

transgender hate offences

Question No: 2018/2825

Andrew Dismore

A report by the think-tank Demos and researchers at Sussex University has found that victims of transgender hate offences in London are being silenced because the Met’s system for recording hate crime data only has the categories man and woman for gender thus failing to capture the offences properly because officers are not able to input whether either the victim or the perpetrator was from a transgender or “non-binary” background. Do you agree that recording system should be updated and if so what will you do about it?

Written response from the Mayor

As outlined in my Police and Crime Plan, I have pledged to take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime in all its forms and I will continue to encourage individuals to report hate crimes, both offline and online.

The report you refer to raises the issue of the Metropolitan Police Service’s current methods of flagging transgender hate crimes. My Victim’s Commissioner for London chairs a quarterly Hate Crime Board which routinely considers reports and updates of this nature. The MPS also sit on this board and is reviewing their hate crime recording data with a view to considering what changes could be made to improve the recording process to reflect victims and suspects who identify as transgender or non-binary. This work and the Demos report will be considered at the next meeting of the London Hate Crime Board in December 2018.