London local democracy reporter lands two scoops in chat with Prime Minister

The Prime Minister and London Mayor Sadiq Khan on the Elizabeth Line — but in an interview a local democracy reporter, he insisted Crossrail 2 was still a way off

With the political temperature rising in Westminster, Prime Minister Boris Johnson headed away from SW1 — and straight into controversy over funding for the next phase of a transport project.

On a visit to St Mary Cray Primary Academy in Bromley, Mr Johnson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service of the need to get on with Crossrail 2 even amid Transport for London’s funding crisis.

Reporter Kiro Evans, employed by MyLondon on behalf of the BBC-funded scheme, used the chance to meet the PM to ask him what next for local transport in London.

This week has seen the opening of the much-delayed Crossrail 1, costing billions of pounds and stretching from Berkshire to Essex via the centre of London.

Mr Johnson told Kiro: “I’ve talked to Sadiq [Khan] about that and I think what needs to happen is that they need to do what we did with Crossrail 1. You need to get business together with TfL and produce a business case. So Crossrail 1 — the current project was very largely financed by London business coming together and saying ‘this is a great thing’.

“So then we put in the CIL [Community Infrastructure Levy] to enable us to build it. So huge, huge sums came from business. At the moment we haven’t got the business plan — we’ve got the plans, the designs and the route, but we need the plan. So it’s up to TfL and London to come forward with it, so I’m urging them to get on and do that.”

The Crossrail story was one of two scoops Kiro grabbed from the interview with the PM. Mr Johnson also hit out at the expansion of ultra low emission zones in the Capital, linking the added cost of driving through these area to the cost of living crisis.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is reportedly looking at expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone to cover most of London in the capital’s fight for clean air. But Mr Johnson said now is not the time to “hit people” with more tax as costs rise, and compared it to his experiences as mayor during the financial crisis of 2008.

Mr Johnson said: “What I would say with Bexley Conservatives is that now is the time to recognise those pressures. Don’t add more burdens to families now, don’t add more burdens to business. We can improve air quality together but I think another tax on families and businesses and white vans and the rest of it, is going to hit people just when we’re trying to put more money into their pocket.”

  • In 2022, Behind Local News aims to celebrate local journalism in all its forms through our 365 Acts of Local Journalism Project. Lets us know what you think should be included. You can email us here or contact us via Twitter on BehindLocalNews or on Facebook here.

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