Parking in London – what are the Tories up to?

First, an introductory meeting with the new chair we (the GLA) have appointed to the London Transport Users’ Committee. Then I receive official news (having had whispers for a few days) that the Tories will withdraw from the GLA’s planned investigation into parking across London unless it is made into a joint exercise with the Association of London Government.

The Parking Enforcement scrutiny has been welcomed by individuals, organisations and the media alike. Hailed as ‘brave’ for the Assembly to investigate boldly where no one appears to have gone thoroughly before – it is set to be of interest across the capital.

However, I noticed during the coverage last week that a couple of boroughs, notably Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster appeared very angry that the Assembly was daring to look into this. As these are Tory boroughs, I wonder whether they have been exerting pressure over the GLA Tory group to withdraw.

The idea of a joint exercise with the ALG isn’t a good one. The ALG is the body which represents London boroughs, so it would in effect be taking part in an investigation of itself. Also, the ALG are an obvious body to give evidence. So it would be investigating itself based on its own evidence … I think not!

But I have asked for a meeting with them to see what concerns they have. It’s worth seeing if they can make a case to my GLA colleagues and myself that we should amend our terms of reference for the investigation.

I very much hope that the Tories do not throw their toys out of the pram on this one. Firstly, it’s ridiculous. The Tories amended the terms of reference at the Transport Committee that approved the scrutiny and then voted in favour of the scrutiny.

Secondly, what an earth would it look like to London if the Tories refused to examine parking enforcement? Lord knows they are always complaining about all restrictions and charges on motorists. A sudden desire to avoid the subject might look very suspicious.

Anyway – hopefully it will all be sorted. Judging from the amount of emails and correspondence flooding in – this issue has touched a nerve in London. And that is one of our functions at the London Assembly – to raise issues of concern to Londoners.