Opinion Former Article

Adonis in line for London role at City Hall

Lord Adonis is tipped to be named shortly as a transport advisor to the new Mayor of London. He is expected to continue in his role as chair of the National Infrastructure Commission if he ends up being appointed Deputy Mayor of Transport by Sadiq Khan, who was named as London’s new Mayor last Friday.

The suggestion of appointing Andrew Adonis to lead on transport at City Hall is broadly supported by transportation industry representatives. But the Green Party has warned that Lord Adonis’s backing of new river crossings in the capital may lead to more air pollution and congestion if he joins City Hall and the crossings are built.

One leading industry group described Lord Adonis as “an outstanding advocate for infrastructure” and added that if Lord Adonis was to be handed the position of Deputy Mayor of Transport, he would be “the right choice, given his role with the National Infrastructure Commission, his love of the subject and knowledge to back that up”.

 Another commentator said the possible appointment of Lord Adonis to lead on transport matters in London would, if it happened, be a positive move. He added that appointing Lord Adonis would represent “an interesting counterweight” to his broader infrastructure focus throughout the UK and may ensure the objectives of London are better linked to those of other UK cities.

 Others have raised concerns that appointing Lord Adonis to lead on transport in London might not sit very well with his role on the National Infrastructure Commission. One industry source said: “We would want to know how do you act as a Deputy Mayor for London while also being involved in the Commission? There may be some conflicts of interest.”

 On Sunday the Green Party member Baroness Jenny Jones tweeted that appointment of Lord Adonis to City Hall would represent a “terrible move” and that Adonis was “out of date” when it came to dealing with reducing air pollution or traffic.

 The Green Party’s 2016 Mayoral candidate Sian Berry added: “The Mayor should make clear that he will be standing by his pledge to review plans for major new road building in favour of walking and cycling projects. Appointing Lord Adonis without making this a clear part of his remit would send out a worrying signal.”

A spokesman for the Mayor of London said it could not comment on the speculation and added that the Mayor has said he does not want to rush into making new appointments.

In the run up to last Thursday’s London Mayoral election Sadiq Khan pledged to freeze fares on public transport for the next four years, increase spending on cycling and he has since promised to introduce a new one hour bus ticket allowing unlimited changes within an hour.

The new Mayor also stated in his manifesto his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow airport and said that he would merge engineering functions within Transport for London to save millions of pounds each year.

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