Monday, November 07, 2016

Press Release From The United Cabbies Group


At 2pm on Tuesday the 8th of November, thousands of London Taxi’s Protest at Whitehall with one simple clear message calling for a Public Inquiry into TFL, The UKs Capital is gridlocked and choking with air pollution.

The traffic chaos and air pollution in London resembles that of a third world city, not that of a world leading city.

Every single person living, working and visiting London is affected by the severe congestion and toxic air pollution, as well as the dire economic impact to business and tourism.

The regulatory Public Body responsible for this unarguable failure is Transport for London.
Unfortunately TFL is not structured as a Public Body and does not act  as a Public Body  in compliance with Public Law.
It is structured as a complicated web of private Limited Companies with TFL employees as directors of those companies.
TFL has an annual budget in excess of £11 billion of Tax Payers money yet has not been  accountable for its failures in its Duty of Care to protect the public.

The structure of TFL and its lack of accountability for the unarguable failures is something which should be properly scrutinized by a Statutory Public Inquiry

The Mayor of London is Chair of TFL so is not in a position to conduct an independent investigation.

There are also far more serious issues as a result of that lack of accountability.

TFL have failed to act in compliance with Public Law on many issues
London Taxi and Private Hire –LTPH- have failed to regulate properly.

They have issued tens of thousands of Private Hire Licenses without proper background checks, without proper insurance checks , without proper medical checks and with no proper regulation or enforcement.

The result is traffic congestion, air pollution and Londoners being exposed to serious safety and security risks.

They have introduced a Taxi Age Limit based on false evidence that the newer taxis were less polluting. More than 10,000 London Taxis have been scrapped at great expense to drivers for no proper purpose. 

Trade organisations were misled by TFL that this policy would reduce air pollution when the technical evidence clearly showed the older taxis were LESS polluting

There is no proper process or consultation with many of the other decisions made by LTPH in relation to Taxis and Private Hire
TFL have also failed on many other issues.

They have failed to implement a single effective air pollution strategy for many years and as a result thousands are dying each year from air pollution in London. Every single person living, working or visiting London is affected.

They have failed to comply with proper planning process and proper traffic management resulting in gridlock and severe congestion. The Cycle Lanes which have contributed to the gridlocked streets and therefore more air pollution is one example. TFL ignored the Planning process claiming the project was ‘road improvements’ and not a change of use, even though they were changing the use of the road specifically for cycles. It would be positive to encourage and enable safe cycling in a proper way but the result of the current mismanaged policies are clear to see.

They have failed with proper procurement process. This includes the Garden Bridge project and the Old London Underground projects which have both failed to comply with proper lawful process.

The number of empty buses driving in central London causing congestion and pollution has increased, and at the same time the Directors of TFL hold significant shares in the bus companies.

In December 2014 the GLA Transport Committee, who supposedly have the ability to hold TFL to account, filed a report about TFL following an extensive inquiry in relation to Taxi and Private Hire.

The report listed many failings and described TFL as ‘Woefully Inadequate’. The result of that report was absolutely nothing; no action has ever been taken about the serious failings of TFL in the report.

This confirms two things; firstly that TFL are failing and not acting in compliance with Public  Law and secondly that they are unaccountable. They just ignored the Transport Committee inquiry and report and took no action.
It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

The protests will start on Tuesday 8th November at 2 pm in Whitehall and will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone.

We do not call these protests without giving serious consideration to the affects they have on the general public and we apologise for any inconvenience our protest may cause, however, we feel we are left with no other option as we have exhausted every possible avenue in our attempts to get Transport for London to address our concerns.

END
Contact United Cabbies Group
Len Martin (General Secretary)
email 

pressoffice@ucglondon.org.uk
PRESS CONFERENCE- United Cabbies Group intend to call a press conference prior to the protest, details to follow.
Q and As

The Taxi protest is causing huge disruption and inconvenience ; Is that reasonable?

It is regrettable that Taxi Drivers are forced to protest but the fact is that the improper actions and policies of TFL are causing widespread gridlock and congestion all day every day/ 24/7  throughout London.

The gridlock, congestion and toxic air pollution affects absolutely everyone who lives , works or visits London , so it is in everyone’s interest that urgent action is taken by the Government and the protest today is needed for this to happen.

What is the protest about?
Transport for London are a Public Body but their decisions and policies do not comply with Public Law. These decisions do not just affect taxi drivers they affect everyone.

TFL has an annual budget of £11 billion of taxpayers’ money so it is reasonable to expect them to act in the Public’s interest.

The failed policies have caused gridlock ,congestion and pollution and as a result there is harm to health and the economy.

Failure to regulate has created serious risks to personal and general security, including sexual assaults, rapes, injury to passengers and pedestrians and the fact that the capitals security in general is compromised.
Why has the Mayor taken no action?

TFL are accountable to no one which in itself is something which should be investigated in the format of a Public Inquiry.

 The Mayor is Chair of TFL and therefore could not conduct an independent investigation. The GLA are supposed to be able to scrutinize the decisions and policies of TFL but have no statutory power to take action about TFL failures.

A GLA report in 2014 which deemed TFL to be ‘Woefully Inadequate’ has been ignored.
Why has the Department of Transport taken no action?
Formal complaints have been made to the DFT over a number of years and even though this is a national issue  they have continually stated that they have no jurisdiction over TFL and that it is a matter for the Mayor to deal with. The Mayor is Chair of TFL so therefore cannot taken independent action.

Why a Public Inquiry?
If there was a train crash and 140 people were killed there would be an immediate Public Inquiry to establish what had caused it and what steps could be taken to prevent it ever happening again.
The failed policies of TFL which are replicated throughout the UK are leading to massive air pollution  which causes 140 deaths every single day. There is also harm, injury, sexual assaults, road accidents caused by TFLs failure to regulate properly.

It is an outrageous situation and the improper and unlawful decisions need to bee scrutinized in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry to ensure that effective policies are implemented in the future and that TFL complies with Public Law and its Duty of Care to protect the Public.

How Long will protests last?
The protests will continue until the Prime Minister formally initiates a Statutory Public Inquiry into TFL. It is a simple and reasonable demand which needs to be met , as no other course of action will resolve the very serious problems which are affecting everyone
Who is involved?

The protest has been organised by the United Cabbies Group but is also formally supported by the London Cab Drivers Club, the RMT, the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry and thousands of individual taxi drivers throughout London and the rest of the country.

What are the requirements of Public Law ?

It is a requirement of Public Law that decisions made by a Public body or someone in Public Office follow correct procedure, are rational and evidence based, for proper purpose, proportionate and properly reasoned. These criteria exist to ensure that decisions made by a Public Body result in effective policies and strategies.  It is extremely important to acknowledge that these criteria are not just an obligation they are legal requirements and the failure to comply with these requirements is the reason why TFL’s decisions and  strategies have failed.

The legal requirements for a Public Body are to
1/ Follow correct procedure
2/ Be Rational and Evidence based
3/ Have proper purpose
4/ To comply with the European Convention for Human Rights
5/ To be Proportionate
6/ To be properly Reasoned
TFL have failed to comply with these requirements.

What are the requirements for a Public Inquiry ?

It seems that the Government has taken no notice of many complaints about TFL (including by MPs) and the obvious failings, despite the clear lack of compliance with Public Law and the clear harm to the Public (from air pollution , sexual assaults, and the numerous accidents in London caused by unregulated drivers) 

The ONLY reasonable solution is for the failures to be properly investigated in the format of a Statutory Public Inquiry

Certain characteristics can be identified in those public inquiries that have taken place:
·         Widespread loss of life
·         Threats to public health or safety
·         Failure by the state in its duty to protect
·         Failure in regulation
·         Shocking events

1.      Allegations of serious misconduct and prima facie merit have been made against those acting, or purporting to act, on behalf of the state and

2.      Those allegations are sufficiently widespread and are being treated sufficiently seriously by those outside Government to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the State and in the rule of law and

3.      The allegations relate to a sufficiently defined event or series of events to allow an inquiry to be given proper and clear terms of reference and
An inquiry would represent the most effective means of establishing the merit of the allegations made and so of restoring public confidence.
It is the best possible way of establishing why previous TFL strategies have failed so that these mistakes are not repeated and proper effective urgent action is taken in the future.
 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This press release is all over the place. Too much focus on what Khan can't do. Yes the taxi age limit and pollution are issues, but the message is too protracted and will come out like a garbled blurb.
Neither of these issues are going to put us all permanently out of a job; but plying for hire via instant hailing PH apps WILL.
The media needs to be handled properly, Khan must be the target and he must be held accountable for his reluctancy to be a fit and proper Mayor.