Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London 'not seen Prime Minister since 10 May'

sadiq khan
PA Media

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he has not spoken to Prime Minister Boris Johnson since 10 May.

He told Good Morning Britain it is "not good enough" to be left to talk to individual ministers who only know what is happening in their portfolio.

Mr Khan said: "The Prime Minister knows what is going on in all the departments and must be in charge of the detail."

The mayor added that he and local leaders need information on a range of issues, including the health, economic and social consequences of any measures, and "what the plan is if the virus rises in our city".

He urged the Government to "work with us" and with local leaders.

Mr Khan added: "By the way, scrutiny is a good thing.

"If you are challenged and the tyres are kicked, it leads to better decision-making and a safer car."

New woodlands to be created in Enfield and Havering

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Enfield and Havering residents will soon be able to stroll through new woodlands, after the mayor of London promised more than £1 million for tree planting in the boroughs.

The new green spaces will total 84 hectares – equivalent to 3,000 tennis courts or 55,000 parking spaces – and will open up more Green Belt land to the public.

Amid coronavirus restrictions, parks and green spaces have been more important than ever for Londoners, as one in five households don’t have a garden.

Protected Green Belt land makes up almost a quarter of London, but much is inaccessible private land – including golf courses, horse paddocks and vacant ground.

Now sixty acres of Enfield Chase will be replanted with trees at a cost of almost £750,000, and the mayor will fund improvements to 3km of footpaths and cycle tracks.

In Havering, almost £500,000 will pay for a 24 hectare wildlife corridor extending Hainault forest to Hainault Country Park.

Almost 140,000 trees will be planted during the two projects, starting in November – and more than 600 volunteers are expected to take part.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Our parks and green spaces are a keystone of the capital.

“More than ever, London’s green spaces are not only vital to people’s mental and physical well-being, but also to reducing inequality across the city.”

City Hall cash has planted almost 290,000 trees across London in the last four years – but in the run up to the Mayoral election in 2016 Mr Khan promised to plant 2m in his first term.

The pledge wasn’t in his manifesto, but was publicised ahead of the vote – and City Hall Conservatives have attacked the Mayor for achieving just 14% of that target.

Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey accused the mayor of “backtracking” on his promise.

“This is yet another example of PR man Khan putting press releases before policy, and Londoners won’t forget yet another marketing exercise gone wrong,” Mr Bailey said.

Online cycle course to encourage "green recovery"

The mayor of London has launched a new online cycle training course as part of plans to promote a “green recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cycle Skills scheme is designed to help participants get their bike ready for their first ride and offers tips for avoiding potential hazards, as well as guidance for cycling with children.

City Hall say the project is is "tailored to cycling in London" and anyone who completes the course will be sent a a free 24-hour access code for rental scheme Santander Cycles.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "I'm determined to do all I can to ensure a green recovery for our city by building on Londoners' record-breaking demand for cycling over the past few months."

The plan is part of the Streetspace for London programme, which has so far created 11 miles of new cycle lanes in the capital, with a further 12 under construction.

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New woodland spaces announced for London

Almost 140,000 trees will be planted as part of plans to protect and improve the green belt, the mayor of London has announced.

Under the plans, two new woodlands spanning 84 hectares (840,000 sq metres or 207.5 acres) will be created in Havering and Enfield on land currently inaccessible to the public.

A grant of £748,000 will allow Enfield Council to restore Enfield Chase, and will include three kilometres (1.8 miles) of cycle paths. Meanwhile, the Woodland Trust has been awarded £493,082 to extend Hainault Forest in Havering.

Both sites are within London’s green belt - areas with tight controls on building - and tree planting will begin start in November, with the help of more than 600 local volunteers.

“Our parks and green spaces are a keystone of the capital.” Said mayor Sadiq Khan. ” London’s green spaces are not only vital to people’s mental and physical well-being, but also to reducing inequality across the city.”

The news comes one year after London became the world’s first national park city.

Mayor launches review of TfL finances in response to official inquiry

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
PA

The Mayor of London has launched a review of Transport for London’s (TfL) finances, in response to a government-imposed inquiry.

A panel of independent experts will have "no limits" set on the review into the long term future of TfL, Sadiq Khan said.

On Monday the government announced accountancy firm KPMG would scrutinise TfL's finances. The review was a condition of the £1.6bn bailout, announced in May.

Under the government's review, KPMG will consider “alternative operating models”. Unions have warned this could mean privatisation of some aspects of the network and driverless trains.

Mr Khan said his review will "run in parallel" to the government's work.

The panel, which will receive no fee, is made up of:

  • TC Chew, Global Rail Business leader at Arup, Chartered Engineer
  • Stephen Glaister, Professor of Transport and Infrastructure at Imperial College London
  • Bridget Rosewell Chair of Atom Bank and of the M6 Toll company
  • Sir Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank from 2013 until 2019.

Mr Khan said: “London’s public transport network is central to life in our city and will be essential to our recovery.

"Despite the huge strides made in reducing TfL’s operating deficit over the past few years it is clearer than ever that the current funding structure is not fit for purpose."

More than 20,000 'caught not wearing masks' on London transport

Sam Francis

BBC News, London

Man wears masks on London Underground
European Photopress Agency

More than 20,000 people have caught not wearing face coverings on the Transport for London network by enforcement officers.

Only 61 fixed penalty notices have been issued to people for refusing to wear masks since new rules made them mandatory on public transport on 15 June, according to the Mayor of London.

Sadiq Khan told the London Assembly that figures showed "around 90%" of passengers are wearing face coverings.

"Of the remaining 10% roughly half say they have an exemption" Mr Khan said.

Anyone travelling on public transport in England must wear a face covering.

Passengers without a covering are asked to wear one, or will face being refused onboard or fined up to £100.

People with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11 will be exempt from the rule.