Cycle Superhighway gets the go-ahead, Litvinenko inquiry opens, and trains delayed


Cycling in the city

Two routes are planned, to make travel through the city easier for London’s cyclists. Image: Geraint Rowland. Creative Commons licence:

News stories Tuesday 27th January 2015

  • Boris Johnson gives go-ahead for cycle superhighway
  • Litvinenko public inquiry gets underway 
  • Flooding and power outages cause train disruption

Cycle superhighway

After a lengthy consultation process, London Mayor Boris Johnson has decided to go ahead with plans for a cycle superhighway.

But the plans have been changed after pressure from motoring organisations and business groups.

The superhighway will be Europe’s longest segregated urban cycle lane, and has been called the ‘Crossrail for bikes’.

The planned route goes along Embankment, and links Hyde Park with Tower Hill.

Changes were made to the original scheme after concerns were raised about the amount of traffic congestion that it might cause.

While the original proposals removed two out of four of the vehicle lanes, the revised plan only removes one.

Many London cyclists have welcomed the plans.

London Cycling Campaign, an independent charity that supports London cyclists, issued a press release this morning voicing their support.

Rosie Downes, Campaigns Manager at London Cycling Campaign, said:

This is a huge first step towards what the Mayor promised the London Cycling Campaign and our supporters at the last mayoral election. We commend him for this bold move that will help tackle congestion, reduce road danger, improve our air quality and make London an even more fantastic city for everyone.

The proposals still need to receive final approval from the Transport for London board next week. Construction could start as early as April.


Litvinenko inquiry begins

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The public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko has started at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Mr Litvinenko died in November 2006 after drinking tea laced with polonium-210 while he was meeting with two former KGB officers in London.

The inquiry will consider who was responsible for the death of Mr Litvinenko. His widow Marina Litvinenko says that her husband blamed the Kremlin while he lay ill in hospital, and Mrs Litvinenko’s lawyer has described his death as ‘an act of state-sponsored nuclear terrorism.’

Mr Litvinenko had previously worked for the KGB, but arrived in the UK in 2000 and claimed asylum. He had criticised the Kremlin and worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.

Opening the inquiry, judge Sir Robert Owen has said that the poisoning is a matter of ‘utmost gravity.’

Our reporter Tayo Popoola is at the Royal Courts of Justice, and will be sending reports throughout the day.


Train disruption 

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Commuters had to deal with continued delays this morning due to the flooding in the rail tunnel between Farringdon and St Pancras stations.

The rail tunnel flooded on Friday after a watermain burst, and it’s been causing disruption to Thameslink trains.

More than half a million litres of water have now been pumped out, and Thameslink says that services should be back to normal from tomorrow.

Travellers using Euston also struggled with their journeys this morning, as Euston station suffered a power fault.

Trains leaving and arriving at Euston were cancelled and departure boards stopped working, but services are now returning to normal.

There were also problems at Kingston station this morning, as our reporter Katie Rogers experienced.


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