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MQT – 25th January 2012
37th Mayor’s Report to the Assembly
This is my thirty-seventh report to the Assembly, fulfilling my duty under Section 45 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It covers the period 1 December 2011 – 11 January 2012.
The failures in the Stephen Lawrence murder case have been a long running sore for us as a city and an embarrassment to our police force. I, like everyone across the country, have always been in awe of the Lawrence family's dignified pursuit of justice; they are a fine example to us all. This case is certainly not closed but I am relieved that some justice at last has been done.
Arrival of the new bus for London
On 16 December, the first bus designed specifically for London in more than 50 years arrived in the capital. I committed to build the bus in my election manifesto and was one of the first to go on board when the bus was driven from City Hall to Trafalgar Square to be unveiled in front of Christmas shoppers, tourists and Londoners.
In just under two years, the new bus has gone from the drawing board to a fully functioning prototype. The first prototype buses will be operated by Arriva and will enter passenger service on 20 February on one of the Capital’s busiest routes, the 38, which runs from Victoria Station to Hackney. The bus incorporates the most innovative and cutting edge hybrid technology and will be the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind when it enters passenger service.
Between 4 and 7 January, the New Bus prototype undertook a short borough tour, which saw it visiting a number town centres across London, where thousands of people took the opportunity to get a close look and board the bus and view the interior.
Final bendy buses banished from the streets of London
On 9 December, I fulfilled my pledge to banish bendy buses from the streets of London. The conversion of route 207 to double deck buses meant that the last of a fleet of over 350 bendy buses have now been taken off the capital’s roads.
They have been replaced with 500 new vehicles that boast the latest engine technology. Over 50 of those buses are hybrid diesel-electric double deck buses. Transport for London (TfL) also estimate that they will save more than £7 million a year due to the reduction in fare evasion.
Revised fares for 2012 after securing additional £136m Government funding
On 2 December, I announced that fares on TfL services for 2012 will rise by just above inflation, 5.6 per cent on average, after I secured £136million from the Government to help the capital’s commuters.
The lower than planned rise in fares will be entirely paid for by the additional funding provided by the Government and comes at no cost to TfL. This means there will be no impact on TfL’s huge programme of investment in London’s transport network or, on essential frontline services. Unprecedented investment in London’s transport network will continue, totalling £12billion over my four year term. This is an increase from an £8billion investment during the previous administration.
New Year’s Eve
On 31 December, The Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks display heralded one of the most momentous years in the capital's history with a stunning pyrotechnic show that lit up the midnight sky. Focused around the EDF Energy London Eye on the Southbank, up to 250,000 people packed the banks of the river Thames to watch the display, with at least 12 million more seeing it on television across the UK and many more from overseas.
Marking the start of this important year, we included fireworks coming off the Great Clock Tower ‘Big Ben’, the first time such an activity has been staged. This was the 8th consecutive year that the fireworks have been staged on New Year’s Eve, generating significant international promotion for London.
The dazzling display kicked off a year of events and celebrations that will climax with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London 2012 Festival, the Diamond Jubilee and a host of free events across the capital offering something for everyone.
Revised Housing Strategy to deliver thousands of new homes and jobs for London
On 13 December, I published my revised London Housing Strategy document for consultation with the public. The revised strategy outlines how I will take on new housing powers secured under the Localism Act, tackle Londoners' housing needs and, deliver nearly 55,000 affordable homes over the investment round 2011-15, with the potential to create over 100,000 jobs during the period. It includes commitments to boost construction, including unlocking public land for development, creating a new board with boroughs to tackle overcrowding and increasing mobility opportunities for social housing tenants. The consultation period runs for 12 weeks until 6 March 2012.