Tower Hamlets stripped of £1m funding amid pro-car agenda

Lutfur Rahman has been pursuing a pro-car agenda  (ES composite( AFP/ Safer Streets) )
Lutfur Rahman has been pursuing a pro-car agenda (ES composite( AFP/ Safer Streets) )

A London borough whose mayor is pursuing a pro-car agenda has been stripped of more than £1 million in transport funding — and faces losing a similar amount next year.

Transport for London on Monday announced more than £63 million for councils across the capital to spend in 2023/24 on schemes to speed-up buses and make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

But no money will be given to Tower Hamlets because of concerns that borough mayor Lutfur Rahman is about to remove low traffic neighbourhood schemes in and around Brick Lane, Columbia Road market and Old Bethnal Green Road.

Council consultations on removing the LTNs closed in mid-February but no decision has been announced.

Sources told the Standard that TfL will also withhold funding from Tower Hamlets for 2024/25 unless Mr Rahman brings his policies in line with Mayor Sadiq Khan’s city-wide blueprint of reducing car use and increasing “active travel”.

The projects that will receive funding from next month include Camden council’s plans to revamp the Holborn gyratory, where eight cyclists have been killed since 2008. TfL announced last October that it would allocate £69 million in “local implementation plan” funding to the boroughs.

Monday’s announcement indicates how £63 million of that total will be spent.

The remainder of the cash is expected to be allocated by next March, including to Croydon, where a delay has been caused by the council going bankrupt.

The bulk of it — £39 million — will be spent in outer London, including on more than 90 bus priority schemes. TfL says this will reduce bus delays at a time the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone could increase demand for public transport.

It will also enable boroughs to introduce more 20mph zones and upgrade at least 150 road crossings. More school streets will be provided in Barking, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, Redbridge, Richmond and Waltham Forest.

The cash will fund cycle training for more than 20,000 adults and 40,000 children and provide more than 3,500 secure residential cycle parking spaces.