Mayor’s Question Time – 01/10: Crossrail

No comments

Crossrail’s Carbon Footprint. Business relocations. The business rate. The Royal Oak works.

When will the carbon footprint of the Crossrail project be published? – Darren Johnson

The Crossrail carbon footprint was first published in the Crossrail Environmental Statement (2005). Based upon design and operational assumptions at the time, a small per annum saving of carbon dioxide emissions was predicted from the operation of Crossrail. These calculations have been updated as the detailed design of Crossrail has progressed and were published at the 2009 May Day Summit in accordance with Crossrail’s associated pledge. Total emissions of carbon dioxide from the construction phase of the Crossrail project are estimated to be in the order of 1.7 MtCO2.

During operation, annual savings in the order of 70,000 to 225,000 MtCO2 may be achieved, largely from the displacement of car journeys and upgrade and replacement of diesel trains on the existing network. By offsetting emissions from construction of Crossrail with potential savings per annum during operation, a payback period of somewhere between seven and 26 years after opening day may be achieved, with potential net savings in CO2 thereafter.

Crossrail’s carbon footprint model continues to be refined as detailed design progresses and we will again publish the model findings at the next May Day Summit in 2010.

Will you ensure that the carbon footprint of bids is included as a consideration in the Crossrail contractual process, that design teams work within a CO2e budget or parameter, and that reductions are required, monitored, reported throughout the project? – Darren Johnson

Crossrail requires its designers to achieve energy efficiencies through the design process as part of reducing the carbon footprint of Crossrail. Crossrail has adopted the use of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme (CEEQUAL) for the design of its stations and civil works respectively. These benchmark the overall environmental performance of the designs (as well as energy) and assist in setting targets to achieve improvements. Those schemes permit Crossrail to monitor the performance of the designs and the final awards are verified independently by the BRE and CEEQUAL Ltd.

Do you feel that businesses that have to relocate due to Crossrail should receive personal one-to-one support from Crossrail Ltd to help them through this difficult and confusing process? – Caroline Pidgeon

This is a very important issue, and Crossrail Ltd (CRL) is aware that Compulsory Purchases create disruptions for businesses and individuals. Compulsory powers are therefore used very carefully. CRL complies with the National Code of Compensation and, in many instances, has gone beyond the statutory minimum notice period of three months. Generally, notice periods of two to three times the statutory minimum had been given. In addition affected businesses are provided with the following by TfL to assist them with making their claim:

· Information papers advising them on how compensation is assessed.

· Advice on how to seek free independent advice by providing details for contacting the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors helpline.

· An agreement to reimburse their reasonable professional fees, to ensure they will be fully appraised of how compensation is assessed.

· Contact details of the named professionals at TfL who will be dealing with claims and who would assist with any relocation.

However, it is advisable, and we actively encourage those affected, to seek advice outside of CRL and TfL, and appoint an advisor if they feel this is necessary to ensure the support they receive in negotiating their claim is independent and represents their best interests.

How many businesses have been displaced by the Crossrail development, and how many bridging loans to help those businesses displaced have been issued to date by Crossrail Ltd? – Caroline Pidgeon

To date, 130 businesses have been relocated as part of Crossrail’s programme of compulsory purchase. Crossrail has made 90% advance payments upon the later of taking entry of the property or within 3 months of request .The claimants must, however, provide evidence to support their claim. Crossrail has also provided two businesses with financial assistance in advance of dispossession with another case currently under consideration.

What response have you made to London First’s call to limit the business rate supplement to the minimum needed to fund the work on Crossrail? What changes have you made to the initial prospectus following consultation? – Mike Tuffrey

The final policies for the Crossrail Business Rate Supplement (BRS) were published on 29 January. The supplement will apply in 2010-11 at a rate of 2p on non domestic properties with a rateable value above £55,000.

Since I published initial proposals in July we have received representations from around 140 businesses, business representative bodies (including London First), London boroughs and other stakeholders. The majority of these were from small and medium sized companies who expressed concerns about the potential impact of having to pay the BRS in the current financial climate.

In developing our final plans we have considered how best to target any flexibility we have to grant reliefs – having regard to the funding package we have agreed with the Government.

I have decided to focus reliefs on small and medium sized businesses – particularly in outer London – through raising the property valuation threshold at which the supplement applies rather than setting a lower rate than 2p. I believe that this was the right thing to do in the current financial climate. A lower rate would have targeted most relief at larger companies, the financial sector and central government offices located in the City, the West End and Canary Wharf.

It was initially proposed that businesses with a rateable value of over £50,000 would pay the supplement but I have decided that the threshold should be raised to 55,000. This change will particularly help London’s small and medium sized firms – who represented the majority of the respondents to our initial proposals. Up to 4,000 smaller properties will be exempt from the levy as a result of the change – with the largest percentage reductions relative to £50,000 being seen in some of the most deprived boroughs in the capital such as Hackney, Lewisham and Haringey. The change will also exempt a number of primary schools from the supplement – particularly in outer London.

In response to my final proposals Baroness Valentine (Chairman of London First) said: “This small concession shows he (the Mayor) has listened. It’s not as much as we would have liked — we would have preferred a small concession for all contributors — but it does demonstrate that Boris is sympathetic to our concerns.”

Finally there is no question of the GLA or TfL raising anymore than we need via the BRS. The BRS policies for 2010/11 are consistent with the Sponsors Agreement signed with the Department for Transport and with the 2009 TfL Business Plan. Were BRS income reduced in 2010/11, there would be additional pressure on TfL’s other activities.

But we also have to recognise the significant financial commitment that is being made by the GLA, DfT and central government to deliver this vital project.

London First has played an invaluable role in helping us to convince Ministers of the need for Crossrail – along with the other key business representative bodies in London. GLA officers will be discussing the final policies to them directly so that they can understand why I have taken the decision I have.

It is vital that we work all work together to continue to convince Ministers and the opposition parties of the overwhelming case for Crossrail – and ensure the integrity of the agreed funding package.

Residents in Paddington and Bayswater will inevitably be severely inconvenienced by poor air quality and noise caused by the Crossrail works. How much of the construction material and spoil going in and out of the Royal Oak portal will be moved by rail? How much is going in and out by lorry or other means and can you provide details of how much material will be carried by how many lorries for example, their frequency and for how long this disruption will last? – Murad Qureshi

Controls on noise and air quality are described in the Construction Code, which is part of the Environmental Minimum Requirements, and sets out a series of objectives and measures to protect the environment, and limit disturbance from construction activities as far as reasonably practicable.

Excavated material from the tunnelling works from Royal Oak will be transported by rail. The estimated volume of solid material from this operation is 520,000 cubic metres. Road transport may be used as a contingency, should the rail network be disrupted for any reason. Crossrail Limited (CRL) is also exploring how the Grand Union Canal could be used to support the tunnelling works at this location.During the peak construction period, of some three months, it is estimated that an average of 100 lorries per day will access the worksite. Outside of this period, lorry movements are expected to reduce to approximately 40 to 50 per day.CRL is committed to ensuring that local residents and businesses are kept fully informed of the works in their area. A joint exhibition with Network Rail and London Underground was held at Paddington station in September last year, introducing the works being undertaken by all parties at the station. Local residents will receive regular updates ahead of works at these sites, as Crossrail progresses. CRL also runs a regular community liaison panel for the area, chaired by Westminster Council, which is attended by representatives from residents’ groups.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.