In a modern 24/7 society denying drivers the use of roads for spurious reasons is unacceptable.
We have become increasingly concerned about the trend in unnecessary day-long road closures for frivolous reasons such as Play Streets(1), Car Free Days(2) and 100-mile cycling event routes(3). Whilst these events tend to take place on a Sunday, this is a normal working day for many due to the likes of Sunday Trading laws, workers providing essential services and workers on-call. There is often little or no meaningful consultation. No group or individuals should be given the right to dictate how, when, where and if anyone else can travel. In addition, drivers now face illegal road blockages by ideologically and politically motivated protest groups who potentially fit the UK definition of terrorism (4).
We have a long tradition in the UK of brief, localised road closures in towns and cities for events such as Carnivals or Remembrance, but extensive, day-long road closures are now being used to attack vehicle use. The now postponed closure of the arterial A38 (M) Aston Expressway in Birmingham for Car Free Day on 22nd September is described as “hugely symbolic and ambitious” by anti-car zealots within Birmingham City Council (5). We need to remember what the roads are actually for and why it is vital that they aren’t unnecessarily obstructed. Roads are not a replacement for parks, gardens or the ballot box.”
For Londoners there are extensive road closures in central London (on roads controlled by TfL) and on some borough roads on the 22nd September – see https://tinyurl.com/yyfrvffy for details. This is a “car free” day as they describe it but buses will still allowed to run on some of the roads. We have received a number of complaints about these closures which create major difficulties for residents and those providing essential services.
Notes for Editors
(1) Close roads so children can play, cyclist Jason Kenny says:
(2) World Car Free Day 2019:
(3) Mare and new-born foal die because vet stopped by bike ride closures:
(4) Terrorism is the use or threat of action, both in and outside of the UK, designed to influence any international government organisation or to intimidate the public. It must also be for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause:
(5) Birmingham City Council Statement regarding Car Free Day: