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London cycle superhighway: Cab drivers lose legal challenge

Artist's impression of cycle superhighway along the Victoria Embankment
Image caption Artist's impression of cycle superhighway along the Victoria Embankment

London taxi drivers have lost a High Court challenge which could have disrupted completion of a £47m east-west cycle superhighway.

Two separate lanes for cyclists are planned on the Tower Hill to Ladbroke Grove route.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) argued the lanes would take up space, causing disruption.

Transport for London (TfL) said they were "works of improvement" and did not need planning permission.

The LTDA asked a judge to declare that the continued construction of the segregated cycle route without planning permission "constitutes a breach of planning control".

But Mrs Justice Patterson rejected the application.

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She ruled the TfL did not err in law "and was not irrational in reaching its conclusion that there was no significant adverse environmental effect from the proposals as a whole".

Mayor's 'last hurrah'

The judge also declared planning permission may be required for other cycle superhighways or for parts of them in the future.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boris Johnson was at the opening of the cycling superhighway from Vauxhall to Oval in November

She said: "Each scheme will need to be judged on its own facts."

Steve McNamara, LTDA's general secretary, accused Mayor Boris Johnson of rushing through the scheme as an ill-judged "last hurrah" before he leaves office.

The mayor's cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, said: "Once again, the courts have in the clearest terms upheld our right to improve London for cycling."

He said the ruling meant "we can now be confident of finishing the Embankment - Upper Thames Street superhighway on schedule in April, finishing the whole superhighway in summer, and ending the temporary delays that have occurred as a result of the construction works".

The whole east-west route runs from Tower Hill to Lancaster Gate, but cab drivers had objected to the first phase of construction along the Victoria Embankment.

Howard Carter, general counsel at TfL, said: "The east-west cycle superhighway will make London's roads safer for all, particularly cyclists."

There are five existing cycle superhighways, and plans for three further routes:

  • between White Hart Lane in Tottenham and Liverpool Street Station
  • between Tower Hill and Lancaster Gate
  • between Elephant and Castle to Stonecutter Street, with a later extension to King's Cross.

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