Feb 24 2009 By Jessica Thomas
Hounslow's cycling enthusiasts claim they are being short changed by Boris Johnson over much needed improvements to bike paths.
The Mayor of London has cut funding for the London Cycle Network (LCN+) for outer boroughs by half and increased funding for schemes in central London.
The total spent on LCN+ will drop from £33million in 2008/9 to only £12m in 2009/10, meaning Hounslow will only receive enough money to complete one safer cycling scheme despite asking for money to fund nine.
Some schemes which are not to go ahead due to the lack of funding are the extension of cycle lanes from Syon Lane in Isleworth to the junction with Twickenham Road and the creation of cycle lanes in Brentford High Street and on Half Acre along to Wilkes Road.
The Mayor wants to increase cycling by 400 per cent through schemes like Velib, the public bike hire project, with 80 per cent of the new cyclists coming from outer London.
Jenny Jones, from the London Assembly's Green Party, said: "I think the cycle hire scheme is brilliant and so is the idea of cycling superhighways, but the London mayor is paying for these high profile schemes by not funding eight schemes which would make cycling safer in Hounslow.
"We have a zone one cycling mayor who is giving far less money to the London Cycle Network in outer London, despite the advice from experts who tell him that four fifths of the potential new cyclists come form the suburbs."
Keen cyclist and Brentford Lib Dem ward councillor Andrew Dakers was also shocked by the news.
"I think it's a disgrace, and extrordinary when the mayor himself is a cyclist," he said. "We have already had one death in Brentford becasue of the terrible cycle facilities, I think the reality is investment needs to be increased everywhere, not just in central London."
Analysis of the money provided to the boroughs for the LCN+ shows that a total of 383 schemes have not been funded in the coming year, 260 of them in outer London boroughs.
But Ms Jones claimed: "The mayor would not be forced to make cuts in the budget for safer cycling schemes if he hadn't scrapped the plans for emission charging.
"Revenue from that would have paid for finishing off the LCN+. He has put the interests of the owners of 'Chelsea Tractors' above the safety of suburban cyclists."