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Topic: Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m
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Posted by: Bernard Allen
Date/Time: 06/09/20 09:36:00

Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m fund meant for green transport revolution

Grant Shapps has told councils to stop abusing the £250 million fund meant for a green transport revolution by installing pointless one way systems and barriers that offer “no benefit to anyone”.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Secretary of State for Transport says he will personally intervene to scrap the worst examples where local authorities have ruined high streets and residential roads in an attempt to build cycle lanes and promote social distancincing for pedestrians.

His comments come after a series of petitions attracted thousands of signatures from people across the country who fear councils are pandering to the cycle lobby.

Campaign groups representing the disabled, small business owners, pollution activists and motorists have criticised the schemes for being rushed through with little or no consultation.

Many have claimed traffic congestion has been shifted elsewhere, while pollution has increased and many high street shops are struggling to emerge from lockdown because parking spaces have disappeared.

In some London boroughs, planters closing off roads have been vandalised amid concerns emergency vehicle response times have plummeted as firefighters and paramedics have encountered new road layouts.

Mr Shapps announced the £250 million scheme to promote “a new era for cycling and walking” at the height of lockdown in May.

But today, Mr Shapps stresses how “not everything has worked” and because they are trials and the height of the Covid emergency has now passed there is ample opportunity for councils to consult local residents, businesses and the disabled.

In a direct message to council leaders, he says: “Where some councils have abused the cash, my message is clear: speak to local residents, get it fixed or no more cash.”

He adds that while some schemes had been “done well”, in the worst cases “a number of them will be coming out soon”.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed in July how the minister had personally intervened in his own constituency after being dismayed with the way Hertfordshire County Council had set up a one-way system in the village of Welwyn which was said to have left the high street deserted.

He writes: “Some councils have introduced random one-way systems, which don't seem to offer many benefits to anyone.

“Some of those plastic barriers that have gone up in town centres to widen the pavements can actually prevent pedestrians, including disabled people, crossing the road.

“They narrow the carriageway for traffic, causing congestion and increasing danger for cyclists. They reduce parking for essential visits to the pharmacy or dentist or doctor. And they don't seem to be much used by pedestrians either.”

The minister said while many green activists claim the car should “die”, he believes it should instead “evolve” to help save the planet.

As an electric car driver himself he added how he was an “electric head” rather than a petrol head, a description for those obsessed with fossil fuelled motor vehicles.

He also said it was essential to “keep the main arteries of our economy flowing” at this pivotal time as Britain emerges from lockdown and prepares for Brexit.

He adds: “For those who say we shouldn’t be building roads, I say there’s nothing green about standing still in traffic, pumping out CO2 and pollution.”

However, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) remained adamant last night that more needed to be done to ease congestion after it had seen members, particularly in London, complaining how journey times were increasing.

“We don’t believe that the Government has thought through the practical reality or economic consequences of reducing road space for vehicles,” a RHA spokesman said.

“This will only lead to increased congestion and delays to deliveries – all of which increases the costs of moving goods – and somebody’s got to pay for that.

“We’re all for a ‘green recovery’ but you can’t do this by clogging up our roads and making it more difficult for people and goods to get about.

“On a local level, councils are using Covid-19 as an excuse to circumvent proper consultation about traffic schemes and ignoring their damaging economic and environmental consequences.

“We’re hearing from members, especially in London, of increasing journey times and delays. In one instance round trips taking up to 50 percent longer than normal.”

Entire Thread
TopicDate PostedPosted By
Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 09:36:00 Bernard Allen
   Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 10:03:00 Elizabeth Price
      Re:Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 11:39:00 Peter Evans
   Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 11:39:00 Vanessa Smith
      Re:Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 12:28:00 Bernard Allen
         Re:Re:Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 06/09/20 12:35:00 Jennifer Selig
            Re:Re:Re:Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 07/09/20 17:56:00 Philippa Auton
               Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Grant Shapps tells councils to stop abusing £250m 07/09/20 20:01:00 Adam Beamish

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