Government Rejects Popular E-Petition Against Road Closures

The Government has responded to the parliamentary petition which called for withdrawal of guidance and funding of road closures and cycle lanes that are creating severe traffic congestion (see https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552306 ).

This petition quickly collected more than 20,000 signatures which required the Government to respond. However the response is an appalling travesty of justice and could have been written by the original civil servant who developed the defective policy to begin with.

The response says for example: “The Government is committed to delivering a step change in levels of active travel. We know the majority of people support giving more road space to cycling and walking in their local area”. Where is the evidence for the latter claim? There is none. Vehicle users object very strongly to having road space removed.

It also says: “Although some schemes have attracted negative attention, this is still only a small minority of the people living in those areas”. Simply not true. For example, a large proportion of the residents of Lewisham oppose the road closures as is evident from the surveys already undertaken (but which the Council is avoiding doing).

The result of these Government funded Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes is that congestion and air pollution have increased, people are inconvenienced, local businesses have lost trade and lives have been jeopardised with emergency vehicles stuck in traffic. Cycle tracks are often empty, while the roads alongside are jammed.

Readers should write to their Member of Parliament about the triviality of the response – go here to obtain their contact details: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons

PLEASE SIGN THIS VERY IMPORTANT PETITION

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552306

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Grant Shapps Changes Stance

I have been spending a lot of time on our campaign against road closures in Lewisham and other London boroughs over the last few months. It has just achieved some success as Lewisham Council announced a reopening of some roads on Friday. But not enough to appease the complainants, and not enough I think to stop the traffic congestion on many roads.

Part of the problem has been the encouragement by Central Government for road closures and cycle lanes, and funding to assist, as promulgated by Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary.

A Parliamentary e-petition on the subject has already collected near 20,000 signatures in a few days. See https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552306 . Please sign it and get your friends and relations to do so. And write to your member of Parliament on the Subject.

But it seems the worm is turning as the Daily Telegraph reported the following: “A letter, sent on Friday to local authority transport bosses and local highways authorities and seen by The Telegraph, warns how a ‘notable number of councils used their funding poorly and were simply out of step with the needs of the local communities’. Mr Shapps also said: ‘I saw or heard from the public and parliamentary colleagues about far too many instances where temporary cycles lanes were unused due to their location and design, while their creation left motor traffic backed up alongside them; of wide pavements causing unnecessary congestion in town centres; and other issues that many have, rightly, reacted angrily to.’

He explains how he had ordered his staff to “engage” with those councils where he had ‘concerns’, because badly thought out road closures and cycle lanes had been introduced.

‘Since then, numerous schemes have been scaled back and revised,’ he wrote. ‘I am pleased with this, but the work will continue where local residents continue to have concerns.’

He warns the second round of funding in the scheme could see some town halls receiving ‘considerably less’ money if they fail to ‘embrace good design’ or ‘consult their local communities’.”

Let us hope there is real change but I suspect Lewisham and some other dogma driven London Councils will continue to pursue irrational policies so the fight for sensible measures with democratic input will have to continue.

Photo above is of the demonstration on Saturday against the road closures in Lewisham – no doubt more would have attended if it had not been an illegal event. Video present here: https://youtu.be/cqW2hBfK7k0

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.