London

George Floyd death: Thousands turn out for UK anti-racism protests

BBC London News Feed - Sat, 06/06/2020 - 17:47
Demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd take place in towns and cities across the UK.
Categories: London

Coronavirus: London's emptiness 'felt like a film set'

BBC London News Feed - Sat, 06/06/2020 - 17:09
Historic England has created an archive of photos capturing life in lockdown.
Categories: London

Vatican arrest man over luxury property deal

BBC London News Feed - Sat, 06/06/2020 - 14:41
The Vatican's £160m ($200m) purchase of a London apartment block is the subject of an investigation.
Categories: London

Matchgirls strike pioneer Sarah Dearman's grave 'under threat'

BBC London News Feed - Sat, 06/06/2020 - 12:54
Sarah Dearman helped organise the famous 1888 matchgirls' strike in Bow.
Categories: London

Hackney shooting: Man dies from gunshot wounds

BBC London News Feed - Sat, 06/06/2020 - 08:57
The man. believed to be in his 20s, was found fatally injured on a residential street in Hackney.
Categories: London

Florence Eshalomi: Black MP mistaken for colleagues condemns racism

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 19:25
Florence Eshalomi says the frequency she is confused with black female MPs is "worrying".
Categories: London

Coronavirus: Free face masks on London transport

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 16:13
Volunteers will hand out the face coverings at busy Tube and bus stations from Monday.
Categories: London

George Floyd death: UK protests are 'unlawful'

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 15:47
A senior Met Police officer says the "health protection regulations are clear" about large meetings.
Categories: London

Belly Mujinga: CPS to review Covid-19 death of station worker

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 13:45
Police ask for the CPS to look into Belly Mujinga's death in light of "wider public interest".
Categories: London

Coronavirus: Widen rules on where face coverings must be used, say UK doctors

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:44
The British Medical Association says coverings should be compulsory wherever distancing is impossible.
Categories: London

Harlesden shooting: Arrest after boy, 2, and mother among four hurt

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:22
A 19-year-old man is held after police execute warrants at two North London properties.
Categories: London

Coronavirus: Secret raves in London 'put lives at risk'

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:12
A BBC investigation uncovers a company organising secret raves in breach of lockdown rules.
Categories: London

Wendell Baker: Family did not know of 'dangerous' rapist release

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 05:02
Wendell Baker was deemed suitable for release but his 66-year-old victim's family were not consulted.
Categories: London

Sitting In Limbo: Brother turns Windrush scandal into a very personal TV drama

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 01:02
The brother of a man caught up in the Windrush scandal has written a BBC drama about his ordeal.
Categories: London

BBC to broadcast Royal Opera House reopening concert

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 00:50
The venue's first concert since lockdown will take place on 13 June, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Categories: London

Coronavirus raves: Footage shows people dancing at secret events

BBC London News Feed - Fri, 06/05/2020 - 00:00
Footage shows raves have been taking place in London, but organisers claim the parties are simply a community of people exercising to house music.
Categories: London

Black Lives Matter

London Cyclist - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 18:32

 

LCC stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all groups campaigning to end racism and injustice in all its forms.

At LCC, our central mission is to create a city where everyone who wants to cycle. We want to see a city in which those who choose to cycle reflect London's population as a whole as regards their gender, age, disability and ethnicity; a city where there are no longer barriers preventing people from disadvantaged communities enjoying the affordability, health benefits and convenience of cycling.

We campaign hard on a number of fronts to pursue this mission this because we firmly believe that this will create a better city for everyone -  a zero carbon, zero pollution, healthier, happier London. This is also important, as the outcomes of a city where more people cycle alleviate some of the damaging and dangerous issues that disproportionately affect BAME communities.

Racism kills – as we have seen with the most recent killings of African Americans at the hands of police in the US. But it kills in other ways as well. When we think of racism only as a problem of individual attitudes and not a structural issue, we miss the real impact of racism.

For example, the poorest and most deprived in our society – who are disproportionately black and ethnic minority – are more likely to live in heavily congested areas where air pollution is high. And they are the least likely to have opportunities for active travel, hence we see higher rates of cardiovascular and heart disease among these groups.

Active travel and air pollution – two central areas of our campaigning – are therefore issues of social and racial justice. The structural and institutional dimensions of racism are barriers that must be overcome if the goal of making cycling a genuinely universal activity is to be achieved.

This has become all the more urgent in light of the current covid-19 crisis. Since the start of lockdown, we have been demanding that the Councils and the Mayor support emergency walking and cycling infrastructure. This is in part to stop the inevitable rise in air pollution again, which has exacerbated our vulnerability to this respiratory disease. But it is also important that as we transition out of this crisis with a significantly lower public transport capacity, and one that is no longer free for under 18’s, that we provide alternative transport options. Not only are members of BAME communities more likely to die from Covid-19, they are also among the least likely to have been able to work safely from home during lockdown. Essential workers are disproportionately BAME.

During lockdown, while we were not able to offer free LCC membership to all essential workers, we tried to make it’s accessibility as broad as we could. This is why it is not only for NHS workers but all hospital workers – including catering and cleaning staff who are often black or ethnic minority – and care home workers.

That said, we know that the cycling community is not reflective of London's population as a whole as regards their gender, age, disability, ethnicity, or income. Its reputation as an overwhelmingly white activity is deserved. According to 2016 figures from TfL, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups account for 15 per cent of current cycle trips, but 38 per cent of potentially cyclable trips.  Cycling spaces are often very white and this makes them unwelcoming for black people and other ethnic minority groups. While there has been efforts to become more inclusive and representative, there is a huge amount to improve on. There are still many barriers to many from BAME communities to starting to cycle. Some we are actively working on, like campaigning for the kinds of infrastructure that help people feel more protected from motor traffic and more comfortable to cycle on the roads, but there are many more still.  

We are not making this statement as either a brand exercise or a tick-box exercise. LCC is committed to doing better and continuing to review how we conduct ourselves as an organisation, and how we campaign, in an anti-racist way. This includes, but will not be limited to:

  • How we recruit and develop our staff and activists
  • How we campaign in a way which is sensitive to the inequalities experienced by Black communities
  • How we communicate and make space for disadvantaged voices in our campaigning 

We know we don’t always get things right and that we could do better. If you would like to play a role in this or have suggestions, please get in touch with us on campaign@lcc.org.uk

 

 

Categories: London

Why congestion charging is vital

London Cyclist - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 10:36

Right now, TfL is consulting on reinstating the congestion charge and extending it. The Mayor has proposed extending hours from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week and raising its cost to £15 (as well as removing £1 AutoPay and Fleet discounts and stopping any new resident discounts).

You can have your say here or by emailing yoursay@tfl.gov.uk by… tonight Thursday 4 June. We’d urge you to email in to support the proposals.

The Congestion Charge, alongside the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a vital method of constraining motor traffic in our most congested, narrowest streets. We argue in our recent Climate Safe Streets report on decarbonising roads transport by 2030 that in fact the Mayor must go much further. The Mayor must embrace a full “smart road-user charging” platform as rapidly as possible. But during this crisis, at a minimum, that means not just reinstating the Congestion Charge and ULEZ, but yes, expanding them.

This step to further manage demand in central London (and as we move towards smart road user charging, all of London) creates the space for and goes alongside a high-quality cycle network, more and better public transport (after the crisis passes) and smart mobility services such as electric car and e-bike hire to realise a future where most Londoners do not need to own cars. This is not about penalising a minority of hard-pressed drivers, but building a better London for everyone, challenging as the transition may be for some.

Fare’s fair?

Some politicians have suggested the Congestion Charge is a tax on working people, it’s unfair and that Sadiq is sneaking it through and blaming the DfT (the Dft did indeed make one of the conditions of TfL’s bail-out that the organisation must “urgently bring forward proposals to widen the scope and levels of these charges”, so it’s hard to see what else would have satisfied the DfT that wasn’t a price increase and longer hours). However, while there is a clear issue for those who need to use motor vehicles who are on the breadline, the truth is the alternative is far more unfair to hard-pressed Londoners.

The poorer you are, the less likely you are to have access to a motor vehicle, and the less likely you are to have a reason to regularly drive into central London even if you do have a car. While some sections of the population undeniably will be impacted by the congestion charge in a manner that is far from ideal, the simple truth is that the impact of extending hours and increasing its cost a few pounds a day will cause relatively little hardship, particularly compared to the massive cost to our lives and the lives of the least resourced and most vulnerable in London of not doing so.

The costs of failing to reduce motor traffic and shift Londoners away from cars is far higher than any congestion charge. Inactivity-related ill health has a huge impact on NHS budgets and the wider public purse. Road danger and pollution likewise, but the costs of mitigating an unchecked climate crisis will be far higher.

Demand management

Getting more people walking and cycling, and indeed reducing the damage that too many unnecessary motor traffic journeys do, relies on several concepts. But at their heart, you could simplify them to supply and “demand management.” If we build lots of cycle tracks only, we don’t massively increase cycling rates. This is the lesson to learn from British new towns such as Stevenage which built fairly high-quality cycle routes, but where cycling failed to reach Dutch heights. Carlton Reid in Roads Were Not Built For Cars said it well: “critically, motorists in Stevenage were not constrained in any way. In fact, the first New Town was designed to be highly convenient for motorists.”

In other words, supplying good cycling without managing demand for motoring will fail. Demand management is particularly vital when we’re talking about huge swathes of a city where there is no capacity for cycling, because motor vehicles have taken it all. Most of our cycled journeys will be on roads where there’s no dedicated space for cycling – and this is sadly very much the case in central London. But also TfL’s modelling processes won’t ever allow that space (for cycling) on a technical basis if that space is needed to keep the motor traffic flowing.

When the congestion charge went in, it resulted in a huge shift of people to bikes, and indeed a reduction in motor traffic. But over the years, the motor traffic levels have not fallen, with cars primarily swapped for taxis and private hire vehicles. More, the charge for it has remained virtually flat while bus and tube fares have increased over and over.

The result was clear for central London far before the Covid-19 crisis – a huge chunk of London at a near standstill from congestion, horrific levels of pollution, and a totally imbalanced allocation of road space with pedestrians and those cycling squeezed to the margins, with massive urban motorways right next to our most iconic districts and landmarks. The congestion charge was no longer working well enough as “demand management” of motor traffic.

Dodging the charge

As a result, of course, many of the current motor traffic journeys in central London simply do not need to be done by motor vehicles. That they are isn’t fair – because the poorest in London are disproportionately impacted by the negatives of those unnecessary journeys – the pollution, the road danger, the inactivity and more.

Increasing the impact of the charge on drivers is vital then, while recognising the impact of them on some sectors. But for most, there’s more to be done to easily reduce movements and vehicles – to manage demand and dodge the cost. Delivery and servicing companies and businesses must urgently look at “consolidation” – freight can often go quicker and more efficiently by cargo e-bike in central London, and we need to ensure taxis and private hire are increasingly used not because it’s quick and convenient, but for those with real need, such as some disabled passengers.

The Congestion Charge is a vital stick to lever people out of their cars when they don’t need to be in them, alongside other measures to reduce demand and enable genuine alternatives. Away from the crisis that meant cheap, direct and fast public transport, but now the emphasis is more than ever on a network of safe, direct cycle routes, wider pavements, better crossings and an update to our road-charging approach.

Not only is it utterly fair that the Mayor is increasing the price of the charge, given the cost of public transport, the hole in TfL’s budget, and the nature of many journeys, and extending its hours, but we need a smarter instrument for the future – a subtle stick. We need to be able to charge people for their journeys, to get them to think about them more carefully, all over London; we need charging by emissions; by time of day; location; distance/time travelled, even purpose of trip perhaps. And we need that charge to get more cars off our roads, so we can find the space to enable far more journeys to be done by cleaner, more sustainable, fairer modes available to all.

Have your say here or by emailing yoursay@tfl.gov.uk by Thursday 4 June, today.

Categories: London

Harlesden shooting: Young child among four hurt

BBC London News Feed - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 03:34
The child and an adult are in a critical condition from gunshot injuries.
Categories: London

Coronavirus: How the UK is sleeping under lockdown

BBC London News Feed - Thu, 06/04/2020 - 00:36
More than half the population has struggled with sleep during the lockdown, especially younger people.
Categories: London

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