Polling booths for the London Mayoral Elections opened this morning, with voters offered a choice of 12 candidates including the Conservative Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan.
Both candidates have placed London’s transport infrastructure at the top of their manifestos while also noting the impact that this has on the capital’s air quality which is currently poorly rated.
While candidates from the other parties and independents have also made their suggestions, pre-election polling suggests that Goldsmith and Khan will take the significant majority of votes between them.
With the likelihood that the manifesto pledges of the other candidates will therefore go unimplemented, E&T Magazine is focusing on the two candidates with the highest chance of winning the contest.
Notable transport issues include the addition of a third runway at Heathrow airport, Crossrail and further expansion of London’s public transport network, which is currently straining from the number of daily passengers, as well as green issues including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Goldsmith promises to ensure that the proposed Crossrail 2 will go ahead, running from nine stations in Surrey to three in Hertfordshire and providing a new rail link across London on the Crossrail network.
“I will continue to work with government to secure the right transport infrastructure for London. And my number one priority is securing the funding for Crossrail 2 by the end of my mayoral term,” he writes in his manifesto.
Goldsmith believes construction on the project could start as early as 2020 and in addition to possible extensions to the Northern, Bakerloo and Overground line, will ‘unlock’ the land required for more than 270,000 new homes by providing superior transport links. He also believes it will aid in the creation of more than 250,000 jobs.
Khan’s Crossrail pledges are largely the same as Goldsmith’s but he also promises ‘discussions’ on Crossrail 3 which is the proposed construction of a 4km underground section in new tunnels connecting Euston with Waterloo and the West Coast Main Line corridor with services to the south.
He also makes vague promises about new orbital links without giving any firm commitments about when these or Crossrail 3 will enter construction.
Other transport pledges
The candidates acknowledge the pollution problems caused by London’s expansive bus network.
While current TfL policy is to ensure all buses in central London meet the cleanest possible diesel standard from 2020, both Goldsmith and Khan pledge to go a step further.
Goldsmith says he will seek government funding to retrofit all London buses by 2020 and ensure all new buses purchased are hybrid or potentially electric or hydrogen-run depending on how these technologies improve.
Khan aims to go even further by setting a target of only buying clean electric or hydrogen buses from 2020 while seeking an agreement across other major European and global cities to do the same.
He says that such an agreement would force bus manufacturers into a ‘race to the top’ to develop and produce cleaner bus technology.
Both want to create ‘Clean Bus Corridors’ that would place the network’s cleanest vehicles on the dirtiest routes in order to ease air pollution.
Other green vehicle pledges include the creation of a ‘Charging for London’ network from Goldsmith that will unify London’s electric vehicle charging points, which are currently owned by a patchwork of different operators, into a single open-access network.
Khan is less specific about his plans to improve London’s charging infrastructure, but said that he intends to work with the private sector in order to facilitate a ‘major expansion’ of electric vehicle usage and charging points.
Goldsmith also wants a ‘Boris Bike equivalent for electric cars’, effectively a car sharing service which he believes will be more appealing and flexible than existing private schemes which require the vehicles to be returned to a limited number of charging bays at the end of the rental period.
He wants an ‘open access’ approach to electric car charging points, which will enable private Londoners or rival car clubs to use each other’s charging spaces provided they pay the existing franchise owner a set fee. The idea should allow consumers to hire an electric car in one part of London and drop it off in another.
While both candidates oppose the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, with Goldsmith even alleging it will create an ‘extra 25 million car and lorry journeys’ on London roads, Khan is in favour of instead adding an additional runway to Gatwick Airport.
He claims this is the ‘cheapest, greenest and most viable option’ presented by the Airports Commission with regards to expanding London’s airport capacity. Khan wants to make better use of London’s existing capacity which will be aided through an upgrade of the West Anglian rail line to improve journeys to Stansted.
Goldsmith wants will ensure that all new black cabs are zero emission by 2018 and that minicabs are zero emission by 2020. While Khan has not made similar pledges regarding their green credentials, he has pledged to protect the capital’s black cabs, which are currently struggling against competition from Uber which allows users to order taxis on their smartphones. He wants special privileges for black cab drivers such as the exclusive right to use bus lanes.