When Boris jumped in with both feet into the Hammersmith notabloodyFlyunder debate on the morning of 3rd March 2014 I naturally wanted to know what on earth they’d shown him to prompt this.  So I put an FoI in:

On 3rd March 2014 the Mayor of London made the following statementon LBC Radio concerning the proposed ‘Hammersmith Flyunder’

“A presentation came in from H&F. They’ve been working for months on this idea of creating a new town centre in H&F.

“We’ve been listening to this for months and months thinking come off it this is never going to work and actually it is brilliant.

“It adds up. It’s a most fantastic scheme. We’re going to tunnelise the flyover.

The Mayor added: “What was interesting was even the hardened TfL engineers looked at all this – they’ve been very sceptical – and they thought it was a great scheme.”

Could I request the following supporting information behind this statement:

  1. The presentation from H&F referred to by the Mayor
  2. The extent of the ‘tunnelising’ referred to defined by the location of the portals, length of tunnels, estimated cost and construction method
  3. The most recent ‘sceptical’ TfL report on the scheme the Mayor has received
  4. The most recent TfL report on the scheme which indicates that TfL engineers now think it is a ‘great scheme’.

Compared to TfL the response has been lightning quick.  Rather too quick – it came hot on the heels of the publication by the council of their polished up feasibility study and geotechnical study, which was tweeted by the council’s Twitter account at 5:34pm on the 17th March.  The GLA response merely points me to those documents (specifically the feasibility study and geotechnical report) and disclaims all knowledge of any reports received from TfL, either for or against (which is interesting in itself – either the TfL advice wasn’t formal or Boris is making it up as usual).  They suggest asking TfL, which I might well do, although surely even an email from TfL engineers to Boris’s office offering scepticism or support should be covered by an FoI to the GLA?

Now, those documents were put online on 17th March, and being PDFs have a creation date:

  • Feasibility study – 15:19 on 17th March
  • Geotechnical study – 11:31 on 13th March

Given that, those specific documents the GLA have supplied me with can’t be the ones Boris was basing his LBC remarks on on the 3rd of March unless he’s developed the ability to time travel.  I’ve asked for clarification of this rather strange phenomenon.

The documents themselves shed no further light on quite which option Boris thinks he supports, as the feasibility study covers two options and the geotechnical study covers those two plus four more.  More on those when I’ve got a bit of time, but it’s not good news for the flyunder boosters.

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