Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cab drivers lose cycle superhighway High Court challenge

Judge concludes that planning permission was not required for phase one of the scheme

The Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) has lost a High Court challenge which would have disrupted completion of London’s £47million east-west cycle superhighway. The LTDA had asked a High Court judge to declare that construction without planning permission constituted “a breach of planning control.” However, the BBC reports that Mrs Justice Patterson rejected the application.

The LTDA had sought a judicial review over the East-West Cycle Superhighway despite its head, Steve McNamara, withdrawing a threatened challenge earlier in the year.

The attempt was described by Ralph Smyth of the Campaign to Protect Rural England as “wholly unmeritorious” as it hinged on the route's lack of planning permission – something Smyth said was not needed for bike lanes.

The legal team representing Transport for London (TfL) argued that it would be "inappropriate" for the court to make a declaration as this would usurp the powers of local planning authorities and also pointed out that LTDA’s application had been made after the deadline for legal challenges.

McNamara said that the current route was ‘not the right scheme for London’ and accused Boris Johnson of rushing the project through as a “last hurrah” before the end of his term as mayor.

“We don’t actually disagree that there should be a scheme, but we want to get the right scheme for London. The one being built is not right for our 24-hour city. There is evidence that it is sucking the lifeblood of London, causing traffic jams, with hundreds stuck bumper to bumper, poisoning everybody else with pollution.”

The LTDA suggested a route through quieter streets south of the River Thames used instead.

Mrs Justice Patterson ruled that planning permission was not required for phase one of the superhighway. "That is not to say that it may not be required for certain minor works within the scheme, or that it may not be required for other cycle superhighways or for parts of them in the future. Each scheme will need to be judged on its own facts."

Leon Daniels, managing director of TfL Surface Transport, told the London Evening Standard:

"The court agreed with us that planning permission was not required for the construction of the route to date, and dismissed all aspects of the LTDA's claim.

"Construction continues to progress well and we are working hard to manage areas of temporary congestion around the construction sites. This cycle superhighway will make London's roads safer for all and encourage a more efficient use of the road space."

The mayor's cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, commented:

"Once again, the courts have in the clearest terms upheld our right to improve London for cycling. This is the third legal challenge to TfL-funded cycle schemes to have been dismissed in the last few months.

"It means we can now be confident of finishing the Embankment/Upper Thames Street superhighway on schedule in April, finishing the whole superhighway in summer, and ending the temporary delays that have occurred as a result of the construction works."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Add new comment

22 comments

Avatar
kitsunegari | 8 years ago
0 likes

Good news.

Avatar
srchar | 8 years ago
0 likes

A good lesson to the LTDA, whose members think they own the capital's roads. The new schemes aside, they really DO think that cyclists and buses cause London's traffic congestion, rather than HGVs, private cars, the medieval road layout etc.

If a more myopic, entitled and plain thick group of people exists, I'd love to see it.

Avatar
Fifth Gear | 8 years ago
0 likes

LTDA: Licensed Taxi Driversaurs Association

Avatar
Peowpeowpeowlasers | 8 years ago
2 likes

<Nelson>HAR HAR!</Nelson>

Avatar
Al__S | 8 years ago
6 likes

Getting good momentum going in the courts. First the Walthamstow motoring lobby got shot down in flames, now the cabbies. 

 

Shouldn't gloat, really. But I will. Oh yes.

Avatar
smcc1879 | 8 years ago
9 likes

"There is evidence that it is sucking the lifeblood of London, causing traffic jams, with hundreds stuck bumper to bumper, poisoning everybody else with pollution."

Hmmm, is that LTDA admitting that their member's cabs poison people?

Avatar
I love my bike replied to smcc1879 | 8 years ago
0 likes
smcc1879 wrote:

"There is evidence that it is sucking the lifeblood of London, causing traffic jams, with hundreds stuck bumper to bumper, poisoning everybody else with pollution."

Hmmm, is that LTDA admitting that their member's cabs poison people?

 

Only when they're in queues caused by @#!% bicycles!

Avatar
Huw Watkins | 8 years ago
9 likes

Watermen => Hackney Coaches => Hansom Cabs => Battery Cabs =>  Taxi Cabs  => Uber = > driverless vehicles => ...

Plus ca change 

Avatar
HoldTheWheel | 8 years ago
6 likes

They don't seem to understand that, in the long term, more people will get off the road and onto bikes, therefore easing the congestion on the roads. If that also means there is less demand for taxis then so be it, there are plenty of other people who lose their jobs. I feel far more sorry for nurses who lose their jobs because of NHS cuts, when the NHS could save a lot of money if there wasn't such an obesity problem in this country. Which, coincidentally, taxi drivers help contribute towards by giving otherwise fit and healthy people an excuse to be lazy.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
0 likes

I can understand why drivers are aggrieved at the superhighways - they are taking a helluva lot of roadspace (at least on those two particular routes).

But as a cyclist - hopefully to be joined by many others - my experience of the still-to-be completed routes is that they really are rather good  1

As well as their obvious benefit to cycle commuters, I hope that cycling along the North bank of the Thames will become just as enjoyable and popular (well, maybe not *quite* as popular...) as the current stroll along the South bank.

Avatar
DaveE128 replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
12 likes
Duncann wrote:

I can understand why drivers are aggrieved at the superhighways - they are taking a helluva lot of roadspace (at least on those two particular routes).

I know what you mean, but actually they are wrong to be annoyed. They do not own the road space and there is no reason why a large percentage of the land in London should be given over to their use when they are choosing an anti-social mode of transport. They need to think about the impact they are having on society and stop being so "entitled".

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to DaveE128 | 8 years ago
0 likes
DaveE128 wrote:

they are choosing an anti-social mode of transport

In central London, most road users are bus passengers or people moving goods. I don't think that's anti-social. Both modes are more efficient at their purpose than cycling.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
0 likes
Duncann wrote:
DaveE128 wrote:

they are choosing an anti-social mode of transport

In central London, most road users are bus passengers or people moving goods. I don't think that's anti-social. Both modes are more efficient at their purpose than cycling.

That seems like a non-sequitor to me. Who said anything about what 'most road users' do?

For congestion the question is how much _throughfare space_ is taken up by each mode, particularly private cars and black cabs? (Including the train passengers who take up very little, and pedestrians who just have the pavements).

And how does that compare with their total share of trips?

Given how much private cars spend parked, taking up road space for no purpose, and how much taxis are either waiting or driving about with no passenger, my suspicion is that both are hugely overprovided with throughfare-area for the function they serve.

(Though I've yet to find clearly defined stats on it!)

(Also, the comment you replied to clearly referred to 'drivers' - bus passengers are not drivers!)

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 8 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

(Though I've yet to find clearly defined stats on it!) 

I doubt they exist in the form you describe.

FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

(Also, the comment you replied to clearly referred to 'drivers' - bus passengers are not drivers!)

Point taken about drivers/bus passengers. There are lots more of the latter than the former - but they're moving/not moving at the same pace.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
0 likes
Duncann wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

(Though I've yet to find clearly defined stats on it!) 

I doubt they exist in the form you describe.

FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

(Also, the comment you replied to clearly referred to 'drivers' - bus passengers are not drivers!)

Point taken about drivers/bus passengers. There are lots more of the latter than the former - but they're moving/not moving at the same pace.

I still don't get what point you are trying to make. Bus passengers have nothing to do with the issue.
The question is, which mode of transport causes most of the congestion, by taking up disproportionate amounts of throughfare space per person-journey? (I say throughfare rather than road to include pedestrians in the equation)

I would expect the answer is some combination of 'private cars', 'black cabs' or 'minicabs'. The balance between those three being perhaps dependent on how you define central London.

One stat I do recall is that only 1 in 10 trips in central London is by car (I think that includes cabs, but I'm not sure*, and if so it would be interesting to know what proportion of it is black cabs). I suspect cars use more than 1/10th of the total road and pavement space, so that would imply they, and possibly black cabs in particular, _are_ the congestion the cabbies complain about and blame on others.

*edit - definitely not sure whether it was just 'private cars' or 'cars of all kinds'. But that's the kind of stat one would need to know.

Avatar
bikebot replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
1 like
Duncann wrote:
DaveE128 wrote:

they are choosing an anti-social mode of transport

In central London, most road users are bus passengers or people moving goods. I don't think that's anti-social. Both modes are more efficient at their purpose than cycling.

What's your definition of central London?

I see ridiculous amounts of private car use in West London around Vauxhall, Victoria and Kensington every time I'm there.  They're all in Zone 1.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to bikebot | 8 years ago
0 likes
bikebot wrote:

What's your definition of central London?

I see ridiculous amounts of private car use in West London around Vauxhall, Victoria and Kensington every time I'm there.  They're all in Zone 1.

That's why extending the congestion charge Westwards might have been a good idea. But that's another issue.

I've never found the definition of "Central London" used by TfL and DfT but would guess Zone 1, or possibly a bit smaller.

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/central-london-peak-count-supplementary-report...

I don't see a great deal of (peak time) private car use in the areas that the superhighways are currently under construction - along the Thames and from Elephant & Castle Northwards. Lots of buses and goods vehicles - and quite a lot of black cabs.

Avatar
thereverent replied to Dnnnnnn | 8 years ago
0 likes
Duncann wrote:

I can understand why drivers are aggrieved at the superhighways - they are taking a helluva lot of roadspace (at least on those two particular routes).

.....

A large amount of space on the Embankment is taken up by coach parking, but the LTDA are ok with this. Likewise the centre of Farringdon road is motorcycle and Taxi parking.

London has a lot of poorly used roadspace, and making more lanes for cars just increases the number of cars using it (so congestion doesn't fall). Segregated bike are a far better use of city roadspace than parking or an extra lanes for a few hundred meters.

 

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to thereverent | 8 years ago
0 likes
thereverent wrote:
Duncann wrote:

I can understand why drivers are aggrieved at the superhighways - they are taking a helluva lot of roadspace (at least on those two particular routes).

.....

A large amount of space on the Embankment is taken up by coach parking, but the LTDA are ok with this. Likewise the centre of Farringdon road is motorcycle and Taxi parking.

London has a lot of poorly used roadspace, and making more lanes for cars just increases the number of cars using it (so congestion doesn't fall). Segregated bike are a far better use of city roadspace than parking or an extra lanes for a few hundred meters.

The riverside coach parking is all gone. And the equivalent of another lane on many stretches.

"London has a lot of poorly used roadspace" - that's surely true although it can be measured in different ways. Cycle-only routes little used outside peak hours could also be described thus.

But things don't always have to be used to capacity to be valuable. I didn't say I was against the lanes - I'm absolutely not, I'm excited about them. I just said I understood why drivers might feel aggrieved.

Avatar
Must be Mad | 8 years ago
15 likes

hahahahahahahaha

ha

Sorry, I know it is rude to gloat, but frankly the LTDA deserve it

ha

A second common sense judgment in a week. Wow.
 

Avatar
Armstrong's_balls | 8 years ago
8 likes

Excellent news

Avatar
jasecd | 8 years ago
16 likes

Good.

Cabbies seem hell bent on hastening their decline with an ill thought out PR war on anyone who (in their minds) threatens them. I'd have a lot more sympathy for them over the Uber issue if it wasn't for the mindless attacks on cyclists and their aggressive, entitled, dangerous driving.  

Latest Comments