Long-running tensions between Downing Street and City Hall have ignited again, after Transport for London (TfL) were slapped down over plans to give £100m to councils that have ripped out cycle lanes.
Documents obtained by The Telegraph showed that TfL wanted to give £100m to councils that had removed cycling lanes and eliminated low traffic neighbourhoods.
The money was being allocated as a part of a push for councils to encourage more “active travel”.
Andrew Gilligan, Boris Johnson’s transport adviser and handpicked appointee to the board of TfL, vetoed the transport body’s plans.
Leaked messages reveal Gilligan told Sadiq Khan’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman: “We are still not being robust enough with authorities which are removing scheme.
“The danger point, and the potential tipping point is now, as more councils remove or consider removing schemes. The time to make a stance with backsliding councils is now.”
Some councils, such as Harrow, have begun to remove cycling lanes and low traffic neighbourhood bollards in response to community pressure.
Gilligan wanted TfL to clearly spell out that “we will not, now or in future, fund any council to reduce facilities for active travel, or to remove or weaken schemes”.
A TfL spokesperson said: “We continue to make the case to the Government for a long-term funding deal so that any delays to important projects that will make London’s streets safer for everyone can be avoided.”
Downing Street and City Hall have battled over the state of TfL finances since the first lockdown resulted in a 90+ per cent drop in revenues for London’s transport body.
The government has bailed out TfL on several occasions in the past 18 months, with the current deal running out in December.
The bailouts have come with strict conditions, such as government advisers being appointed to the board of TfL.