During Newsnight’s mayoral husting, Boris Johnson said:
“Do you want a mayor who breaks his promises or one who keeps them?”
I attended the People’s Question Time on 7 March and have blogged about Boris’s posturing on the King Street development following that meeting. Today, Dave Hill refers on his blog to a different issue that was raised.
During the question time Mayor Johnson was asked by two members of the Hammersmith audience about Thames Water’s plans to use a site in the borough as the location for tunnelling work for the new ‘super sewer’.
Following an earlier question, to which Boris said “I will not tolerate anything that disrupts and destroys the lives of London communities”, he was asked:
I was very pleased to hear that you said that you would support or object to any ruining of the local community on environmental grounds in Carnwath Road. Can I interpret that, Mr Mayor, into meaning that you will give the same degree of support to those of us who live in the area, objecting to the environmental disaster that the Carnwath Road scheme would impose on the area, as you have given to the objectors to the use of Barn Elms?
Boris opposed Thames Water’s proposals to use Barn Elms, an area of playing fields in Richmond, as the site for the tunnelling work required for the new ‘super sewer’ – he described the plans as “outrageous”. The Carnwath Road site was then lined up as the location for tunnelling work after Thames Water changed the proposals.
In answer to the question, the Mayor confirmed:
Yes, you can. Yes, you can… yes, I will defend your interests and the rights of your community to be protected from disruption, with all the vehemence that I used to defend Barn Elms. Yes, I will not tolerate measures that unnecessarily cause damage and destruction to communities in this city.
As Dave Hill highlights, he was promising to support them with “all the vehemence that I used to defend Barn Elms”. This would lead you to think he opposed it.
But Boris Johnson had already approved the proposal. Writing in the appendix to his main response to the application that:
The switch to Carnwath Road from Barn Elms for main tunnelling purposes is supported as this relocates major tunnelling activities from a Greenfield to a partially derelict Brownfield site which benefits from good navigational characteristics and better access to the Strategic Road Network.
This is just one of a number of broken promises that I will be blogging about over the next few weeks.