Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Spin and reality: some questions

Unfortunately this is no joke (other than in the sense that everything to do with the Council is a joke).

December 2006:

The Mayor of London today announced £5.15m of funding for the London Borough of Waltham Forest to spend on local transport improvements to make the borough safer, cleaner and greener over the next year.

Projects funded in Waltham Forest for 2007/08 will include:
• £470,000 for the redesign of the junctions of Selborne Road and Hoe Street in Walthamstow and of Selborne Road and Walthamstow Bus Station, to improve traffic flow and access to the area
• £100,000 to be spent on resurfacing the cycle route along the A112 via Chingford, Walthamstow and Leyton, improving conditions for cyclists
• £35,000 to build a wind turbine at Low Hall Depot which will produce renewable energy powering Waltham Forest Council's pool of electric vehicles, amongst other uses.

It’s now April 2009. The first project listed has not happened, so what happened to that £470,000?

There has been no dedicated work on the cycle route along the A112. But there has been limited road resurfacing, which included re-marking of the cycle lanes. So was money that was supposed to be spent exclusively on cycling siphoned off for roads projects primarily benefiting motor traffic?

Was that wind turbine ever built? I have a hunch it wasn’t, because if it was wfm magazine would be crowing about it every time the word ‘Green’ was misused by the Council. As for ‘Waltham Forest Council's pool of electric vehicles’, I seem to recall an exclusive in the local paper which revealed that those dinky white vehicles were now rotting, rusted and abandoned.

I also laugh hollowly at the itemised list which includes ‘Travel Awareness £30,000’. A Council which is incapable of even providing a map of local public footpaths and rights of way, and which comprehensively neglects the cycling infrastructure, wastes money on simplistic leaflets showing smiley people walking and cycling in fantasy environments.