TfL Board Commissioner’s Report: General Planning, Strategy and Finance

1 comment

[Below are the noteworthy extractions from the Commissioner’s Report – MWM]

Mayor’s Transport Strategy

The public and stakeholder consultation of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) closed on 12 January. In total, 5,579 responses were received from members of the public, and 151 from stakeholder groups. Initial analysis has been completed to identify emerging issues and a detailed “Report to the Mayor” on the results of the consultation is being prepared. The final Strategy will be published after the elections in May.

Travel in London Report

The second Travel in London (TiL) Report was published on 18 March. TiL was published for the first time in April 2009. It replaced the annual London Travel Report with a wider data set and closer analytical focus on topics of relevance to the MTS and other Mayoral Strategies where appropriate. The TiL report summarises key trends and developments affecting how people travel around London, primarily from an analytical viewpoint and in relation to strategic travel and related trends in London. One important feature is that the public transport mode share increased by a further percentage point between 2007 and 2008, with a corresponding fall in the mode share of private motorised transport; mode shares (based on journey stages) changed by seven per cent between 2000 and 2008, towards more public transport and less private motorised transport.

Thames River Crossing

TfL has updated the Mayor on the progress made in developing short, medium and long term options for river crossings. Initial assessments of engineering issues, costs and benefits for the potential Silvertown link have been completed, and further detailed investigation is now in hand to provide a greater level of certainty on traffic impacts and detailed design. Other workstreams in progress include an upgrade of the Woolwich Ferry, Blackwall Tunnel contingency measures, and further work on the potential for other crossings for pedestrians and cyclists, including passenger ferries.

Heathrow Judicial Review

A hearing into an application for judicial review of the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to support in principle a third runway, and sixth terminal at Heathrow took place between 23 and 25 February. The challenge was brought by the London Borough of Hillingdon, other members of the 2m Group, and environmental groups including Greenpeace. TfL was represented as an interested party. The case concerns the inadequacy of the consultation process, and the information taken into account in reaching the decision, including the treatment of surface transport access. The decision is expected within two to six weeks.

Thames Crossing Coordination

In February, TfL worked closely with London boroughs to plan and coordinate works on several Thames crossings and did not permit, as reported in the press, the simultaneous closure of five Thames crossings. While work did (during half-term week) take place at Albert, Hammersmith, Southwark and Waterloo bridges, as well as the Blackwall tunnel, only two of these involved full closures (Hammersmith and Albert), and only the works on Albert Bridge extended beyond the half-term week. Other works only involved lane restrictions, weekend or night-time working. In the week beginning 22 February, of the 16 crossings between Hammersmith and Blackwall, only two had work taking place with any impact at all on peak traffic flows. Apart from some increase in queue lengths on the approach to Battersea Bridge, and delays associated with a traffic signal failure on the morning of 16 February, there have been no abnormal delays as a result of any of these works.

Much of this work was carried out either during half term week (when traffic is typically 10-15 per cent lower than normal), overnight or at weekends, and TfL ensured that no adjacent crossings were affected at the same time. This is illustrative of good planning to minimise disruption.

Sub Regional Transport Planning

TfL is working with boroughs and other stakeholders to develop sub-regional transport plans for each of the five London sub-regions (north, south, east, west and central). “Challenges and Opportunities” documents have been produced for each sub-region. These articulate the draft MTS goals for each sub-region, set out more specific challenges for the region within this framework, and outline examples of potential schemes and policy options for addressing these challenges. A joint TfL and London Councils workshop was held on 23 February to discuss these documents, and agree the next steps in developing the five sub-regional transport plans, which will be completed later this year. For each sub-region, these plans will confirm the main challenges and priorities, show how the MTS will be implemented, and set out the priority solutions.

Local Implementation Plans

Three Local Implementation Plan (LIP) preparation workshops have been held for borough officers, to provide details of how boroughs can approach the development of their LIPs, and have been well received by boroughs. In addition, the sub-regional “Challenges and Opportunities” documents are designed to help boroughs prepare their LIPs.

Morning Newspaper Contract

On 5 March, TfL announced that, subject to contract, it intends to award concessions to distribute a free morning newspaper on the underground and at various bus stations to the Associated Newspaper Ltd title Metro. Metro’s current distribution contract with LU began in 1999 and comes to an end on 2 April.

Revenue generated through these contracts will help fund transport improvements and carbon emissions-cutting projects. The new deal will also further encourage newspaper recycling with more recycling bins at key stations.

Integrated Hydrogen Fuel Cell at Palestra

The UK’s biggest building-integrated hydrogen fuel cell was launched at Palestra on 19 February by Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse. This demonstrates TfL delivering on two key areas of the Mayor’s Strategy, building retrofit and decentralised energy.

The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, including the hydrogen fuel cell, will generate energy locally and cut carbon emissions and energy bills. The Trigeneration system should cut carbon emissions by up to 30 per cent, and generate £250,000 cost savings a year, with the fuel cell contributing £90,000.

The fuel cell, funded as part of the £25m TfL Climate Change fund, will provide electricity and heat to the building, and meet most of the building’s hot water needs. Part of the building’s cooling needs will come from a roof-mounted unit that converts waste heat to chilled water. As a result of these works, Palestra’s BREEAM rating went from ‘Very Good’ to ‘Excellent’. A permanent multi-media exhibition display has been created at the front of the building to display the carbon and water savings, and communicate the benefits of the project to the public. It is fuelled by the energy generated on site.

10:10 Carbon Emissions Reduction Campaign

TfL has joined City Hall in signing up to the 10:10 campaign, making the pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent in the year to 31 March 2011. The scheme has signed up tens of thousands of individuals, organisations and businesses in the public and private sectors, to make significant cuts in carbon emissions.

TfL’s commitment to the 10:10 campaign is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 2,700 tonnes per year, and generate savings of £400,000 through reduced head office energy bills in the next financial year. The reduction is significant in an already high performing estate, particularly when compared to both the wider property industry, and recognised benchmarks. It will be achieved in large part due to the Building Energy Efficiency Programme, a cost neutral project generating significant, ongoing and quantifiable financial savings. CO2 savings will be delivered through a range of initiatives, including:

The replacement of 2,500 light fittings with new, high efficiency fittings;
Improvements to heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation systems;
The installation of motion and daylight sensors on lights;
The replacement of around 1,000 halogen bulbs with low energy LED bulbs (which will cut energy use by 90 per cent and increase lamp life by 25 times);
Solar thermal panels to heat water from cleaner, renewable energy;
Upgraded building control systems; and
Ventilation heat recovery systems.

Investment Programme Advisory Group

Last October, the Mayor and Secretary of State for Transport announced that an independent advisory group would be established to oversee the entire TfL Investment Programme, including all maintenance, renewal, upgrades and major projects across its modes, but not the operation of services. The recruitment to this group commenced in January, with appointments to be announced in March. The group will become operational from May 2010.

Chartered Institute of Building Engineers (CIBSE) Environmental Awards

TfL was nominated in four categories of the CIBSE Low Carbon Performance Awards. On 3 February, TfL collected the Client of the Year Energy Performance Award. This award recognised TfL’s continuous improvement in all areas of carbon reduction at head office buildings, including energy efficiency, decentralised energy, and influencing the behaviour of occupants through the Destination Green campaign and the Head Office Environmental Champions network.

Best Practice and Responsible Procurement

A delegation of Tanzania’s central government visited TfL to learn more about TfL’s responsible procurement work. TfL was referred as a best practice organisation by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

On 14 January, TfL’s Responsible procurement and best practice team presented and facilitated workshops on the Responsible Procurement Programme at a Forum for the Future’s leadership event for major infrastructure suppliers and public sector procurers.

TfL’s Credit Ratings

TfL’s credit ratings were affirmed by Fitch Ratings as AA (stable) for the long term, and F1+ (which is the top rating) for the short term. This follows the annual update meetings with senior management in December 2009. The key drivers for a change (up or down) in rating are:
Downgrade: a weakening of central Government support, a substantial decrease in revenue (due to a reduction in patronage) and consistent under-performance against the business plan.
Upgrade: closer links with, and stronger commitment from, the central Government and a stabilisation of the debt burden.

TfL is still awaiting announcements from the other two ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

Prestige

On 26 February, TfL repaid the debt associated with the Prestige PFI contract. The Prestige contract was terminated in August 2008, and will come to an end in August 2010. TfL has chosen to repay the debt earlier, in order to save approximately £4m on the debt service cost. The debt repayment follows an agreement with Transys, the PFI contractor that also provides continuing income from advertising on the ticketing system, and a transfer of the Oyster brand to TfL.

TfL Band 1-3 Pay Settlement

The TfL three year pay settlement has been accepted by Prospect, TSSA, UNISON, Unite and RMT (subject to ratification by their National Executive). This follows the acceptance by the PCS trade union and 65 per cent of eligible employees.
The final settlement has not changed. The level of increases and length of the settlement remains the same. This settlement will come to an end on 31 March 2012. The pay settlement will now be implemented for all eligible employees and members of all unions. Those who have not yet completed a pay acceptance form do not need to do so to get their increase and the first year of the settlement will automatically be paid to all eligible employees in April.

Coroner’s Inquest into the London Bombings of 7 July 2005

The Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett DBE has been appointed as Assistant Deputy Coroner with jurisdiction over the 56 inquests that arise from the bombings on the London Transport network on 7 July 2005.

A pre-inquest review took place on 25 February, to consider preliminary issues with a view to the formal re-opening of the inquests. TfL was invited to indicate whether it wished to become an Interested Person for the purposes of these inquests, and has done so. The Deputy Coroner has commissioned narrative reports from the Metropolitan Police Service, and it is likely that TfL will be asked to provide information and, in due course, give evidence at the resumed inquests.

A decision will be taken in April on whether the inquests should resume and decisions will also be taken on the scope of the inquests and whether to hold a joint inquest for all of the deceased. I have advised the Deputy Coroner that TfL will do whatever it can to support the completion of the inquest process, and I have expressed the hope that it can be completed as soon as possible.

Written by Mwmbwls