Labour have effectively abandoned the Flyunder scheme

Last month I wrote about how the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan delayed answering a question about his stance on the Flyunder proposal. This scheme would mean a tunnel would replace the Hammersmith Flyover and a stretch of the A4 extending to the Hogarth Roundabout. It would mean huge benefits in terms of transport, the environment, new housing and making the borough a more beautiful place to live in.

The Mayor has finally provided the following response:

“TfL completed a feasibility study for the Hammersmith flyunder in 2015. The scheme looks to address issues of congestion, mitigate against noise and air pollution from traffic, provide space for new housing and make the area more appealing for walking and cycling. The study indicated that it would be technically feasible to build a tunnel to replace the flyover and provide opportunities to regenerate Hammersmith town centre.

“The likely construction and operational costs of the scheme were found to be significant and could not be covered through local sources and from proceeds from associated development in the town centre. As this is primarily a regeneration scheme, it is being considered further by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham who are developing a Supplementary Planning Document for the town centre.

“While I am supportive in principle of schemes such as the proposed Hammersmith flyunder, any such schemes need to being fully funded by development in the local area. TfL will work closely with the Council, but the scheme has to demonstrate that it can deliver the benefits and meet the key challenges before I can fully support the it.”

Given the vast sums that TfL is prepared to spend on assorted unwanted schemes the refusal to offer any money at all is unreasonable. Not to mention splashing out £100 million to bodge up the Hammersmith Flyover. This is a TfL road and for the current Mayor to show a complete lack of interest is a dismal contrast to his predecessor Boris Johnson.

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, says the Flyunder idea is “bonkers”.

In any case just shrugging and saying it is up to the Council to come up with a proposal is pretty hopeless unless we get a change of administration in May. Labour promised to back the plan but have failed to make any progress with it at all.

7 thoughts on “Labour have effectively abandoned the Flyunder scheme

  1. Hammersmith Flyunder will be very welcome. Would Philip Hammond consider giving it some money from his Autumn Budget 2017 “Infrastructure” fund, regardless of which Party Controls LBHF, to benefit the tax paying residents?

  2. Great news. Spending billions on an urban motorway is a relic from the 1960s or 1970s.

    The supporters of the tunnel have never been able to answer the question about what happens to the significant proportion of traffic that *wouldn’t* use the flyunder and would remain on the surface.

    The tunnel supporters don’t mention the significant surface dislocation that would be caused by the tunnel portals. Or the costs that weren’t included in the business case, such impact to the existing storm drain network or the removing the flyover.

    The land released by a tunnel was always going to be small so it isn’t a surprise that it comes nowhere near covering the cost of a tunnel. The only way a tunnel could be covered by development is if Hammersmith town centre is turned into a mini-Manhattan with a huge increase in building height and density.

    The government are removing the grant they provide to TfL so expecting TfL to fund a tunnel is basically asking public transport users to subsidise people driving into London.

    Really the objective should be to substantially reduce the number of people driving into and out of London then the flyover could be closed to motor traffic and turned into an urban park – the Hammersmith Highline.

    • You’re talking a load of nonsense about public transport users subsidising drivers. Drivers pay roughly 4-5 times over to the Treasury for using the roads in this country. A check in recent years showed that the money spent on England’s roads was well less than that raised by motoring taxes such as fuel duty. Adding the spend on roads in devolved administrations wouldn’t have changed the balance much.

      There was recently a Freedom of Information request to Transport for London on this issue. TfL if anything used creative accounting. The money they spend on roads is often wasted on promoting social engineering (i.e. removing road space from business and private vehicles to slow everyone down and finance the fetish for getting journeys cycled up to a certain %.). It is anything but ‘a subsidy to drivers’ even though the fares support grant to TfL is ending.

  3. It is obtuse and unimaginative to impose a constraint that the Flyunder scheme has to be fully funded by “development in the local area”. Of course it would be a major benefit of Hammersmith, but it would also be part of a strategic upgrading of the road transport system for the capital.

    This constraint isn’t imposed when a cycle superhighway is suggested in a particular locale. Instead, vast sums are made available from a central TfL pot.

    What if, just if, the residential development on the freed up land didn’t have to include the currently mandated 50% social housing?

    There is such a thing as having a ‘can do’ attitude. How do we make this work? Not how do we prevent this from happening at all costs.

    The tragedy is that five years ago everyone seemed utterly energised and excited by the Flyunder idea. It was going to transform and reunite dour Hammersmith – the East Germany of west London. There was a tangible sense of possibility and optimism, for a brief period.

    • CS9 is peanuts compared to the cost of the tunnel – £70M for an 11km route compared to the estimate of £1.7B for about 1km of tunnel so less than 5% of the cost. Also that £1.7B estimate doesn’t include the cost of removing the existing flyover, doesn’t include the cost of rerouting storm drains and likely many other things that weren’t considered in a the fairly superficial business case.

      The tunnel doesn’t actually free up that much land so fiddling with the value of what is released won’t make much difference to the already poor business case. Also, the business case included re-development between King St and Hammersmith Bridge Rd, which is nothing to do with the tunnel but was chucked in to try and boost the business case.

      It is all very well talking about a ‘can do’ attitude but that is just sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the realities of engineering and finance.

      The tunnel would be a huge amount of money that wouldn’t release much land and wouldn’t reconnect Hammersmith with the river because almost half of the traffic would remain on the surface and there was no plan what to do with that.

      All this at a time when car volumes in central London and car ownership in London is in decline.

      • Car ownership and use in London is declining for a number of reasons. Exorbitant increases in insurance to pay for the crash for cash whiplash claims and car hire rip-offs. The penalising of young people by insurance companies. The removal of road space for under-used bus lanes by TfL and the removal of parking space by boroughs such as LBHF.

        If you read the Mayor’s Transport Strategy document quietly released by the saintly Sadiq Khan, and for some reason grossly under-publicised in our borough, you will find it nothing less than a blueprint for prejudice and persecution. “A Mayor for all Londoners”? Pull the other one!

  4. Why not implement a charge to use the “Fly Under”, as per M6 Toll or Severn Bridge? This could fund it. Or those of us who live in the vicinity could apply for a free permit to use roads above ground, everyone else should be charged.

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