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  • Article: Jul 20, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on reports that 200 New Routemasters will have failing batteries replaced under warranty and that on occasions the buses are running entirely on the diesel engine said:

    "The Mayor has repeatedly boasted about the New Routemaster, yet this is further evidence that the claims made by the Mayor and TfL are just rhetoric and do not match the reality on the ground.

  • Cllr Jack Cohen being interviewed by the BBC
    Article: Jul 17, 2015
    By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

    BARNET Council has announced yet another restructuring, appointing 20 directors and assistant directors.

    Yet still it cannot get broken pavements fixed.

    There was an extraordinary long queue of disgruntled residents at my ward surgery last week, all of them frustrated by the council's failings.

    Planning was top of the list, followed by highways and housing.

  • Article: Jul 15, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Home Secretary's decision to not grant permission for the use of water cannon in England and Wales said:

    "After carefully examining the evidence the Home Secretary has made a wise decision.

    "Water cannon run the risk of innocent people being injured and would certainly undermine policing by public consent.

  • Article: Jul 15, 2015

    Stephen Knight, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on today's report from King's College London revealing that air pollution causes 9,400 premature deaths in London every year said:

    "This report more than triples the previous estimate of deaths caused by air pollution in London and confirms that this is the second biggest public health killer to smoking.

    "The 9,400 Londoners who face an early grave due to air pollution provides 9,400 reasons why faster action needs to be taken to tackle air pollution.

    "It is highly disappointing that only last week the Chancellor's Budget failed to reform Vehicle Excise Duty to discourage more polluting diesel vehicles. It is equally disappointing that the Mayor's proposals to tackle air pollution in London have been so timid since he came to office in 2008. A big switch towards zero emission electric buses and taxis, not diesel hybrids, is now vital in London. Bringing forward the start date of the Ultra Low Emission Zone and real moves to tackle air pollution in places such as Oxford Street must now happen."

  • Article: Jul 1, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the support for a third Heathrow runway by the Davies airport commission said:

    "This much delayed report simply repeats many outdated arguments in opting for a third Heathrow runway.

    "However many conditions are set ultimately a third Heathrow runway will have devastating consequences for a large section of London in terms of noise and increased air pollution.

  • Article: Jun 29, 2015

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on today's announcement that London is set to trial the world's first purpose-built double decker electric bus said:

    "It is encouraging that a fully electric double decker bus is at last to be trialled."

    "Yet while celebrating this development let's not pretend for one moment that London is leading the way in delivering electric buses.

  • Article: Jun 26, 2015

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly housing spokesperson, commenting on today's announcement of four further Housing Zones across London said:

    "These proposals have some merit but the big picture is that the Mayor has ultimately failed to deliver anywhere near enough affordable homes.

  • Article: Jun 18, 2015

    At Mayor's Question Time today the Mayor made the stark admission that his commitment made in 2012 to triple the number of cycle super-highways by 2015 will not now be met.

    When the pledge was first made four cycle superhighways existed in London. The Mayor now admits that only eight will now be completed by the end of the year. The Mayor also demonstrated his lack of attention to detail when he revealed that he wasn't even aware that he had cancelled Cycle Superhighway 6 (linking Penge to the City).

  • Article: Jun 18, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM commenting on reports that Transport for London are now considering removing buses from Oxford Street said:

    "Transport for London's new thinking of Oxford Street is long overdue. The case for pedestrianising Oxord Street has never been stronger.

    "Oxford Street is currently one of the most dangerous roads in the UK. One person is knocked down by traffic on Oxford Street every five days. The diesel fuelled buses and taxis that stutter along it have produced the highest known concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide anywhere in the world.

  • Article: Jun 15, 2015

    New evidence has revealed that in many parts of London there has been an alarming rise in the number of vulnerable children who have gone missing from the care of our local authorities in the last year.

    The report London's Children: Missing From Care, launched today by the London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, provides a detailed picture of the extent of how many children have gone missing and how many times, using freedom of information requests sent to all 32 London Boroughs.

  • Article: May 29, 2015

    The Mayor's decision to force the sale of the former Southwark fire station site to a developer saying it wants to provide a new school, but without contractually requiring a school to be built, shows a "reckless naivety" in his dealings with private developers, says Stephen Knight, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and member of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

  • Article: May 22, 2015

    The Mayor of London needs to come clean over his stance on extending the 'right to buy' for housing association tenants was the clear message he received at Mayor's Question Time today.

    Speaking after Mayor's Question Time, Stephen Knight AM, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly housing spokesperson said:

  • Article: May 8, 2015

    "It would be idle to pretend we are not disappointed at the election results nationally and locally", Finchley & Golders Green candidate Jonathan Davies said at the declaration of the result in the early hours of Friday morning. "But we will continue to campaign for a fairer society and a stronger economy, and opportunity for all. We'll be back!"

  • Altan Akbiyik
    Article: May 4, 2015

    Altan Akbiyik, the Liberal Democrat candidate in this Thursday's Garden Suburb Ward by-election, said: "I want to provide an alternative voice for the Suburb on Barnet Council, with a stronger focus on local issues. I want to replicate Jack Cohen's achievements in Childs Hill for the residents here in the Suburb. With the Tories on a majority of only one on the Council, this is an excellent opportunity to change the dynamic of local decision making, and stand up for a strong voice for the Suburb."

  • Article: Mar 30, 2015

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on today's announcement confirming that the Ultra Low Emission Zone will go ahead said:

    "This announcement is welcome, although I regret that we still have to wait five and half years until the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone. Boris Johnson will have long left City Hall when this scheme finally starts to be implemented.

  • Article: Mar 27, 2015

    Safer Neighbourhood Teams across the capital are still not meeting Londonwide standards for accessibility according to a new report published today by Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group.

    At present the Metropolitan Police service website proudly states that every Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) "will respond to every message directed to us within 24 hours."

  • Article: Mar 27, 2015

    A hardship fund designed to protect the poorest in society is failing to deliver since it was devolved to local councils in 2013 is the key finding in a report published today by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Stephen Knight.

    The report reveals that for the second year in a row many London Boroughs are unlikely to even spend their allocated budget of local welfare assistance (LWA).

  • Article: Mar 25, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayor's refusal at today's Mayor's Question Time to accept a full and independent audit of the procurement process for the design of the Garden Bridge said:

    "Through extensive investigation led by Architect Journal a number of serious issues have arisen about how Heatherwick Studio was awarded the contract for the design of the proposed bridge. It really is odd in the extreme that companies with far greater expertise in designing bridges were marked down on the criteria of 'relevant design experience'.

    "When a former chairman of the Royal Institute of British Architects procurement reform group states that serious questions remain about the selection process you would expect the Mayor of London to directly address the issues of concern.

    "Yet instead the Mayor has dodged answering questions and simply thrown abusive comments at anyone who dares to question the merits of the Garden Bridge."

    "The whole process has been as murky as the water that flows down the Thames."

  • Article: Mar 17, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on today's report by the House of Commons Transport Committee on river crossings said:

    "Far from being forward looking this report is based on ideas dating back to the 1970s.

    "I think it is bitterly disappointing that the report totally overlooks the need for improved public transport links across the Thames, such as extending the London Overground across the Thames beyond Barking Riverside.

  • Article: Mar 11, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the announcement that the Home Secretary is refusing to give the go-ahead for the use of water cannon in London said:

    "Unlike the Mayor the Home Secretary is showing commonsense on this issue.

    "Water cannon runs the risk of injury of innocent people and it will certainly undermine policing by public consent. Yet at the same time it is an ineffective tool to manage serious public disorder situations.

  • Article: Mar 11, 2015

    On National No Smoking Day Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, has welcomed the decision by Transport for London to install no smoking signs in all of its bus shelters.

    By the end of April 'no smoking' stickers will now be added to 9,800 bus shelters which currently have no signage. At present just 2700 of London bus shelters have no smoking signage. In response to previous requests to install 'no smoking' signs the Mayor suggested that merely placing 'no smoking' signs at new and refurbished bus shelters was satisfactory.

  • Councillor Jack Cohen
    Article: Mar 6, 2015
    By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

    FOR the first time in 28 years I am not a member of Barnet's main planning committee. So when it met to determine a controversial application in my ward, I leapt at the opportunity to address the committee from the public speaker hot seat.

    The room was packed out. People had turned out in force to voice their objections. The application to revamp the Granville Road estate, in Childs Hill, was recommended for approval by planning officers.

    Residents were organised and up for the fight. Despite a smooth presentation by the developers, councillors on the committee were impressed enough by the force of argument against the plans, including loss of vital green space, no provision of community facilities, increase in traffic and over-development, that they voted by six to four to refuse the application.

    What struck me was that so few of the councillors on the committee said anything or even asked the officers questions.

    Indeed when it came to the vote some sheepishly, or so it appeared, raised a hand and even that was hard to detect to such an extent that the normally mild-mannered chairman had to urge them to make their mind up, while those voting against made their intentions clear.

    Of course, the residents were delighted and streamed out of the town hall in a happy frame of mind, but all too aware that the developers may well come back again.

    In the meantime, however, this result demonstrates that when residents come together in one voice it is possible to protect our environment.

    Next stop is saving our libraries.

  • Article: Mar 5, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on theadmission that the Mayor has agreed to underwrite Garden Bridge maintenance costs commented:

    "It is concerning that only after the Mayor has given planning permission to the scheme and having allocated £30 million of public funds that he finally comes clean and admits that a financial guarantee has also been provided. The Mayor should have been clear many months ago that far from the Garden Bridge being a private and charitable initiative it is actually a major drain on public funds.

  • Article: Mar 5, 2015

    Liberal Democrat candidate for Hendon Alasdair Hill presented councillors with a petition against library cuts signed by more than 9,000 people at this week's Council meeting.

    Alasdair Hill told the councillors: "Libraries are the temples of civic society. They go beyond books.

    "More 2,000 consultation responses have been submitted. This is despite the galling question asking residents which options they prefer - close, close or shrink. Limiting the response may produce the data the council wants but it flies in the face of open and transparent democracy. Why can we not say we disagree with all options?

  • Councillor Jack Cohen
    Article: Mar 4, 2015

    Liberal Democrat councillor Jack Cohen proposed an alternative budget at Tuesday's Council meeting, which included a council tax freeze and money to protect the library service.

    His proposals included a reduction in director and senior officer posts, a £1,000 cut in councillors' basic allowances, removing all councillors' special responsibility allowances and a reduction in spending on agency and consultancy staff.

  • Article: Mar 3, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on the results of the London Survey which reveals significant differences in Londoners' feelings of safety between day and night-time, when travelling by bus or the London Underground said:

    "It is really concerning that not all Londoners feel safe when travelling on buses or the tube, in particular at night.

  • Article: Feb 27, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson commenting on the announcement that Santander have won the new sponsorship deal for the cycle hire scheme said:

    "The bike hire scheme is a brilliant development but from day one it has been hindered by a poor sponsorship contract.Today's new sponsorship deal does look like a real improvement on the rotten deal struck with Barclays.

  • Article: Feb 26, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, commenting on today's report by the insurance company Aviva which has analysed police road traffic collision data between 2009 to 2013 on London's roads said:

    "These figures confirm that cycling around many gyratories and especially roundabouts such as the Elephant and Castle is nothing less than a Tour de Danger for cyclists.

  • Article: Feb 12, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon commenting on the statement made today by the Bill Bratton, New York's police commissioner, that the use of water cannon had become an "anathema" in the US said:

    "Bill Bratton's intervention on this issue is both timely and helpful. However I fear he will join a long list of people that the Mayor has decided to ignore on this issue, including of course the London Assembly.

  • Article: Feb 9, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the Mayor's plans for London's road network which he has announced in the United States today said:

    "This is exactly the kind of announcement that the Mayor of London should make in London ideally at a press conference, where London's media, including local newspapers can properly question the Mayor on his specific proposals.

  • Article: Feb 6, 2015

    "Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Group, commenting on today's decision by Transport for London's Board to support the proposed Cycle Superhighways said.

    "I very much welcome the Board seeing sense and supporting safe cycling infrastructure in London

    "We need to move into the 21st century and embrace the fact that more and more people are cycling.

  • Article: Feb 4, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on a report published today by Architects Journal, about lobbying for the Garden Bridge based on correspondence between the Mayor and Joanna Lumley said:

    "We now know that back in May 2012 the Mayor was lobbied to support the Garden Bridge and at this stage was specifically told by Joanna Lumley that the proposed bridge would have segregated cycle tracks.

  • Alasdair Hill
    Article: Feb 3, 2015

    Alasdair Hill and Jonathan Davies have been selected to stand in Hendon and Finchley & Golders Green constituencies respectively in this year's General Election.

    Alasdair Hill, 29, is a secondary school teacher from Mill Hill. He has recently come to prominence locally leading the fight to save our libraries from closure. His petition has now reached over 8,000 signatures and has galvanised the whole community, successfully keeping libraries at the forefront of local debate.

  • Article: Jan 28, 2015

    Improving London's environment for everyone, building more homes and making fares much fairer are at the centre of a radical set of proposals put forward by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group in their amendment to the Mayor's budget.

    Key aspects of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly budget amendment include:

  • Article: Jan 27, 2015

    Caroline Pidgeon has welcomed the commitment by TfL to review the potential provision of Visitor Information Centres at both London Bridge and Waterloo underground stations.

    Following the closure of all tickets offices at all London Underground stations the provision of new Visitor Information Centres is planned for just a few locations across London, such as Victoria, King's Cross St Pancras and Paddington.

  • Article: Jan 26, 2015

    has been confirmed that the Mayor of London failed to respond to a recent Home Office consultation on proposed changes to firearm licence fees, despite the fact that nearly all Police and Crime Commissioners around the country have long advocated changes to the fees to ensure that vital police resources are not drained away by subsiding the licensing system.

  • Article: Jan 5, 2015

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on the news that Oxford Street has already exceeded the annually permitted number of breaches of the hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution limit value, with Brixton Road expected to do so as well, said:

    "For an annual limit on air pollution to be breached within just a few days is a clear demonstration that real action needs to be taken to tackle air pollution.

  • Cllr Jack Cohen being interviewed by the BBC
    Article: Dec 21, 2014
    By Clr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

    APPARENTLY 2014 has been the year of the selfie. Of course, self-portraits are nothing new. Rembrandt, Raphael and Van Gogh all painted themselves.

    Over this festive period no doubt there will be many more selfies taken, especially from politicians wanting make sure that their voters see them with the good and the great.

  • Article: Dec 19, 2014

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the decision by the Mayor of London's office to give planning permission for the Garden Bridge:

    "There can be no denying that numerous questions still remain over the long term maintenance funding of the bridge and who will ultimately be picking up the bill."

  • Article: Dec 17, 2014


    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on TfL's proposals announced today to increase cycle hire charges for many users of the scheme said:

    "Under the cloak of 'simplification' the Mayor and TfL were hoping they could push through increases in the cycle hire scheme
    for many users of the scheme, without anyone noticing.

    "To attempt to push through such increases in such an underhand way, just two years after the doubling of fees is insulting in the extreme.

    "These further increases in fees should have been included in TfL's recent annual fare announcement.

    "The cycle hire scheme needs to expand across London, starting with its expansion into Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.

    "At the same time a dramatic increase in users would take place if it was simply easier to hire a bike using Oyster and contactless payment.

    "Making these changes should be the Mayor's first priorities, not underhand increases in charges."

    ENDS




  • Article: Dec 17, 2014

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on news that the cable car appears to have no regular commuters, following a freedom of information request made by Darryl Chamberlain of the 853 blog said:

    "It is amazing that the cable car had no regular customers during a recent week in October.

  • Article: Dec 17, 2014

    Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, has responded to Transport for London's consultation on the extension of the Bakerloo Line highlighting the vital need for a two branch extension of the line.

    Welcoming the consultation Caroline Pidgeon said:

    "I am delighted that this consultation has received so much attention and that due to the active work of MPs such as Simon Hughes so many people have responded. It is vital that the voices of people from South East London are heard.

  • Document: Dec 7, 2014
    931.83 KiB drawing or desktop publishing document
  • Councillor Jack Cohen
    Article: Dec 7, 2014
    By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Press

    EARLIER this week I heard about an email alert concerning a "weird" looking person seen in the road. I think it meant to say "someone behaving suspiciously".

    Language is so important - and never more so than when it comes to the issue of mental health. Too many people with mental health problems are being detained in police cells or end up in prison.

    That is why I want to pay tribute to Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb, who has made it his job to tackle the scandalous treatment of mentally ill people.

    I think, according to the statistics, something like one in four people will, at some time in their lives, suffer from mental health problems.

    Mr Lamb uses the term "parity of esteem" to highlight the differential treatment between physical and mental illness. Mental health patients do not have the same rights as patients with a physical condition.

    Believe it or not, this is enshrined in the NHS constitution. There is no target time to be seen by a consultant. Indeed the consultant can decline to see the patient.

    Mr Lamb intends to sweep all of this away. Mental health will be placed on a par with physical illness - and about time to. Mr Lamb deserves credit for tackling an issue that for so long has remained hidden in the shadows.

  • Article: Dec 4, 2014

    After extensive questioning by Assembly Members it has been revealed that by 2020 - the starting date for the Mayor's proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London - the 306 Euro V New Routemaster buses will be central London's dirtiest most polluting buses, emitting around 5 times the NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) pollution of other buses.

  • Article: Nov 19, 2014

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on today European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on ClientEarth's case against the UK government over its failure to tackle air pollution said:

    "This is an incredibly welcome decision. No one can choose not to breathe the air around us so the right to breathe clean air is fundamental.

  • Article: Nov 13, 2014

    Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on the 2015 TfL fare package announced today said:

    "The Mayor's proposals to put up fares in general by 2.5 per cent next year will hit hard many people and households. His proposed rise in fares would have been even higher if the Treasury had not stood in.

  • Article: Nov 6, 2014

    Ahead of the Mayor of London's expected fare announcement for transport services in London for 2015, Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, has called on the Mayor to honour his commitment to finally introduce a weekly cap on Oyster pay as you go fares in 2015.

    Explaining why a weekly cap is so important Caroline Pidgeon said:

  • Article: Nov 5, 2014

    Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly business spokesperson, commenting on the announcement today that the London Living Wage will increase by four per cent, from £8.80 to £9.15 per hour, and that the number of accredited companies paying the London Living Wage has doubled over the past 12 months to exceed 400 companies or organisations in the capital, said: