Hayes & Harlington Gazette
Extreme weather costs TfL more than £10 million
TRANSPORT for London (TfL) is to step up its plans to make its operations more resilient to the effects of climate change after losing over £10 million in revenue due to extreme weather incidents.
In a new action plan outlining its adaptation strategy, it hopes better weather forecasting and internal communications will support a £2million investment in infrastructure.
In the short term, TfL wants to improve drainage systems across its network to prevent floodwater blocking its road network and public transport services. This will largely take the form of 5,000 square metres of ‘catchment draining’ on TfL roads. This will take the form of additional greenery, such as bushes and shrubbery which can soak up water and provide run-off better than concrete. In July 2021, deep floodwaters at Pudding Mill Lane DLR station lead to chaotic scenes with some passengers resorting to swimming through it. £2million in passenger revenue on the London Underground in July 2021 alone was believed to have been lost as fewer services were able to run.
Extreme heat proved to be even more financially impactful, with the city’s transport authority estimating it lost £8million due to the heatwave in 2022, which led to the worst grass fires seen in Greater London in a generation. An estimated five million fewer passengers wanted to travel in 40C heat, even though much of the TfL network is now fully airconditioned.
In the longer term, the Mayor’s transport strategy aims to have four in five journeys across the capital take place by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041. These modes of travel are better for the environment as they pollute less than journeys made by private, individual transport such as cars. In order to achieve this, London TravelWatch, London’s transport watchdog, estimates that bus usage in the capital needs to jump by 40 per cent, hence the Mayor’s push to expand buses in Outer London to support the expansion of the ULEZ clean air scheme. The controversial Silvertown Tunnel project, which TfL is pursuing despite climate activists raising concerns with the mayor and protesting several times, is not mentioned in the 24 page plan.
Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer explains: “This plan highlights what we are already doing to adapt to climate change and is our invitation to the many organisations that we work with to come together to improve our collaboration in the fight against its impacts.”
The plan will be discussed in full at the next meeting of TfL’s safety, sustainability and human resources committee due to take place on February 22. Other items expected to be discussed are TfL staff satisfaction and whistleblowing procedures.
Although the TfL network is generally getting safer for passengers, workplace violence is an ongoing concern for staff, particularly on London Underground, with only 15 per cent of staff assaults leading to prosecution.