Posts Tagged ‘gla’

London’s Cheapest Flight: June-July 2013

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Eight years ago I took a couple of rides on the Emirates Air Line, better known thanks to London blogger Diamond Geezer as the ‘dangleway’ and posted a number of the pictures that I took from it.

As I pointed out then, “in transport terms its a joke, a slower and more expensive route on almost any possible journey“, but to my surprise this joke is still running eight years later despite huge losses, and my exhortation “if you’ve not taken a ride don’t leave it too long” was then misplaced. Though given the effects of the virus on air travel it may not last much longer, but perhaps the extensive developments on the south bank on the Greenwich Peninsula and the replacement of industrial sites by housing on the north bank, together with the move of the Greater London Authority to the Crystal at the north end of the route by the end of the year may provide a few more customers.

One advantage of the current situation is that, according to the TfL web siteOnly one passenger is allowed per cabin, unless a household or group is travelling together” so you can be sure of having it to yourself, or chosing those you want to travel with. The poor people in the picture above had to share a ride with me.

I think there were notices in the cabins telling you to remain in your seats during the short journey, but clearly I didn’t entirely obey these, but there was no one around to see. Perhaps there might be safety issues if a full cabin of Sumo wrestlers began to throw themselves around but I don’t think my careful movements were any problems.

The service runs weekdays days from 7am to 11pm, stopping an hour later on Fridays and Saturdays and opening later at weekends. It also stops in very strong winds and thunderstorms, though one London reporter made a story out of using it this January as storm Christoph was approaching. His photographs don’t really support his story of being buffeted around by the wind but I imagine there was some tangible swinging motion. When there is any real danger it closes – and that happens around a hundred times a year. There are also some closures for maintainence.

My journeys were both smooth and rather quiet, and the ride seemed much shorter then the 10 minutes it took. A single journey costs £4, more or less the same as in 2013. I generally avoid air travel, but I imagine the carbon footprint of this short journey is quite low.

Back in 2013 I commented “it should be promoted as one of London’s cheaper and more interesting tourist attractions, giving a rather better view than the helter-skelter on the Olympic site at around a tenth of the cost, and with the added attraction of motion in three dimensions.” It has so far only attracted a few more discerning tourists, some of whom are doubtless also following London’s public art trail, The Line and get an unusual view of Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud on their ride.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


XR London Tax Rebellion

Sunday, July 18th, 2021

Extinction Rebellion launched their campaign for a tax strike against the Greater London Authority, withholding the GLA element of their council tax until they abandon projects which will cause environmental degradation and hasten ecological collapse with a protest outside City Hall on Thursday 18th July 2019.

They were particularly concerned about three major GLA projects, the Silvertown tunnel under the Thames, the Bow East concrete plant in Newham, and the Edmonton incinerator in Enfield, and called for a citizen’s assembly to formulate an “Emergency London Plan”, replacing the current 2020 London Plan with sustainable policies on air quality, land development and transport for the City of London and 32 London Boroughs.

Sian Berry, Green Party

The rebellion called on London residents to withhold the average proportion of their council tax – 22% – which goes to the GLA and to pay that into a special fund which would be used for climate related projects. To have any impact it would have to be supported by large numbers of London council tax payers, and XR set a threshold of 2,700 for it to go ahead – needing the support of around 15% of their London members.

Although some other XR actions involving tax are proceeding, I’ve been unable to find any more announcements about the London Tax rebellion from XR, and suspect that they may not yet have managed to sign up enough supporters for this action which is no longer listed on the on-line platform which was being used to carry the forms concerned.

Possibly the reluctance to take part may have been influenced by the change in policy towards those arrested for minor offences at XR protests. Normally only a fairly small fraction of those arrested are actually charged and brought to court, but political pressure from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who called XR criminals threatening the “UK way of life” has resulted in almost 100% of those arrested during the 2019 protests being brought to court. There is now a very long back-log of cases awaiting trial.

Many more pictures at XR London Tax rebellion.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Tax Rebellion

Sunday, December 15th, 2019

Travelling around London as I do is often frustrating, with traffic often blocking the streets rather than moving through them. If I had any sense I would have picked up my folding bike, a Brompton, and took it with me to get to this protest at City Hall, the home of the Greater London Authority, more or less next to Tower Bridge.

My journey had started badly, with my train into London arriving around 25 minutes late – impressive for a journey which normally only takes 35 minutes. If I’d brought the bike I could have jumped on it and still got to City Hall on time, and if I’d been thinking more clearly I would have rushed down to the Jubilee line station to take a train to London Bridge, leaving me with just a short walk.

But when I’d planned the journey I’d given myself plenty of time, and the bus had two advantages. First my National bus pass meant it was free, and secondly it took me almost to the doorstep of where I was going so I decided to keep to my plan and take a bus. It was a bad call, and as I waited longer and longer at the stop I wondered whether to give up and go back for the tube, but finally the bus arrived and I got on. The first half mile was fine, but then we hit more traffic.

I ran up the path towards the protest, and saw the die-in starting from a couple of hundred yards away. I hadn’t missed it completely but it would have been rather better to have arrived and been available to photograph the start of the event.

The protest was to declare a tax strike against the Greater London Authority, withholding the GLA element of their council tax until they abandon projects which will cause environmental degradation and hasten ecological collapse. They want a citizen’s assembly to re-write the London Plan to stop all infrastructure projects polluting London’s air and invest in measures to cut carbon emissions and encourage healthier lifestyles

Many of London’s problems were made much worse by the abolition of the GLC by Margaret Thatcher back in 1986, leaving the city without any proper overall authority. The GLC under Ken Livingstone had made a good start in improving public transport in the city, but things more or less came to a halt, only to pick up again when he returned as Mayor with the newly formed GLA in 2000. Rail privatisation in 1994 made matters worse, with so many different companies responsible for overground services in the area – and recent franchisees seem even less competent than their predecessors.

The development of London in most respects also took a setback with the election of Boris Johnson as Mayor, who was able to claim the kudos for Livingstone’s cycle hire scheme, but was generally ineffectual, as well as wasting time and considerable money on a garden bridge that served no purpose and few wanted.

Progress with better cycling facilities has been slow, though much of the blame for this lies with the boroughs rather than the GLA. Some boroughs have been clearly anti-cyclist, and a strong lobby from cab drivers organisations has opposed innovation. Progress has been very piecemeal.

The Green Party has of course been pushing for better cycle facilities and other changes that would make London a healthier place, and both Sian Berry and Caroline Russell spoke. There were also protesters against the Silvertown Tunnel, which will greatly increase traffic on both sides of the river, particularly in Greenwich. This has now been given the go-ahead by Mayor Sadiq Khan who seems to have rather less concern for the environment even than his predecessor.

I don’t know how successful – if at all – the tax boycott has been, but I’ve heard nothing about it since. I think it would take rather more than this single protest, where many of those present will not have been London council tax payers, to get such a boycott going on a scale large enough to have any real effect.

XR London Tax rebellion


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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