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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 April, 2004, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Mayor halts 1.5m transport grant
A high street in the borough of Barnet
Barnet claims its policies are "common sense"
Ken Livingstone is withholding 1.5m of funding from Barnet Council because of its transport policies, which he claims are putting children's lives at risk.

The council has removed cycle lanes, introduced parking on pavements and ripped up road humps in defiance of the mayor's road safety recommendations.

Barnet, a north London council, will not receive any money until Transport for London investigates the policies.

The council's Conservative leader Brian Coleman dismissed fears over safety.

Mr Livingstone said: "Barnet's half-baked policies are putting children's lives at risk."

It is commonsense traffic policies in Barnet. No-one has complained and speed humps can cause unnecessary deaths
Brian Coleman, Barnet Council leader

"London has one of the best road safety records in Europe. We are not going to allow that to be undermined by the loony right in Barnet Council.

"Transport for London will not fund schemes that jeopardise road safety or cuts things like cycle training for school children."

But Mr Coleman said Barnet has only taken out one cycle lane, which is a few hundred yards long, and has introduced parking on pavements only on roads which have wide pavements.

"The policy has been in place for two years. It is commonsense traffic policies in Barnet. No-one has complained and speed humps can cause unnecessary deaths," he said.

He added that the measures have widespread support and that Mr Livingstone is indulging in "political grandstanding" and "emotive nonsense for which he had no evidence at all" ahead of June's elections for London Mayor.

Road safety campaigners claim the disputed policies have reduced the number of children under 16 killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 41% between 1994 and 98 and the 12 months to September 2003.

Council to scrap speed humps
19 Jun 03  |  London

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