Today the Mayor announced that the Londoner is dead and that some of the money will be used to buy 10,000 new street trees over the next four years. I am happy that the Londoner has gone but as a local councillor perhaps less so that the Mayor is treading on the boroughsâ€™ toes. Street trees are clearly a local authority responsibility, at least on their own roads.
Anyone who lives in Ealing knows that we have just planted 100s of our own trees over the last winter. The Mayorâ€™s announcement mentions that these new trees will be going 250 at a time to 40 â€œareas of London that need them mostâ€. Again, most wonderful but does that mean that he will effectively be subsidising feckless Labour boroughs that refuse to spend out on street trees whilst careful boroughs that provide street trees will not benefit?
Our source from NSTS Lilburn points out that the sums are interesting. Overall spending on the Londoner was set to be Â£2.9 million in the current financial year. Trouble is not much of this came from the GLA. In 2006/7 Â£504K came from the GLA, Â£1.5 million from TfL, Â£500K from the LDA and Â£250K from the Met. It will be interesting to find out who got their money back. Youâ€™d hope that the Met did. Again the LDA cash should be used for hard economic development not prettifying the streets of London. I guess you can make a case for taking Â£500K off TfL to make walking more attractive. They would be glad to get Â£1 million back I expect.