Val Shawcross’s indictment of the snow chaos makes important reading for the Mayor and London Councils

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee, chaired by Val Shawcross, has published a powerful indictment of last month’s snow chaos.  It is clear that there was little proper planning for the snow (about which there had been plentiful warnings from the Met Office), virtually no coordination between the relevant bodies, and it took the best part of 24 hours before anyone took a proper grip of the situation.

I am quite clear that most of the Boroughs were woefully ill-prepared: they should all have had in place proper plans for gritting the most important routes and protocols in place for clearing access to bus garages, to London Ambulance stations and for other emergency services.  I am also amazed that there were not better arrangements for coordination and what there was was only finally triggered on the Monday after the snowfall with no direct communication with Transport for London until nearly 30 hours after the severe weather warning that a major snow-fall was hours away (ie 5pm on the Monday – some 17 hours after buses were ordered to return to their depots).

So who should have triggered the emergency coordination?  It may not be a statutory responsibility for the Mayor and the GLA, but the whole premise of the Greater London Authority Act is that the Mayor should use the authority of his elected office to bring people together and make things happen in the interests of London.  I trust the failure to do so on this occasion (until it was too late) will not be repeated again.

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