Councils Turn Back On Green Roads Policy

Mon 24th Aug 2020

A controversial government policy of closing roads and expanding cycle lanes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the brakes after local residents expressed their fury at a local level.

A report in The Daily Telegraph has shown that councils up and down the country are cancelling the scheme following the backlash against the £250m scheme which was launched this summer by the Transport Secretary.

“People are absolutely livid, I’ve had 400 emails from individuals and there’s been a petition of about 1,500 people,” said Robert Aldridge, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Edinburgh. “It’s a really quiet neighbourhood and it’s highly unusual for people to be this exercised, but they are furious. They feel patronised and insulted.”

One councillor in the London suburb of Bromley has threatened legal proceedings against Croydon Council after garden planters and road barriers were used to block roads. In a letter to local residents, Conservative councillor Colin Smith said: “I can confirm that Bromley has this week initiated the first tentative legal steps to try and have the barriers removed by order if commonsense isn’t deployed and their street paraphernalia removed swiftly – as we would clearly far prefer.”

Despite the objections from some politicians, many of the councils, including Croydon Council are pushing ahead with their changes. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph a spokesman said: This temporary scheme, welcomed by many local residents, is already encouraging more walking and cycling for all people in the area, and addressing the issue of reduced capacity on public transport resulting from Covid social distancing measures.

“We are confident in our use of the emergency powers. Feedback is very important to us; we have already made improvements based on local input, and we remain keen to work closely with Bromley to resolve any concerns.”