delays to 999 emergency response times as police, paramedics and fire crews encounter newly shut roads.

The letter, sent on Friday 16 October to local authority transport bosses and local highways authorities and seen by The Tele- graph, 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 continues: “I saw or heard from the public and parlia- mentary colleagues about far too many instances where temporary cycle lanes were unused due to their location and design, while their creation left motor traffic backed up along- side them; of wide pavements causing unnecessary congestion in town centres; and other issues that many have, rightly, react- ed 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 con- tinue where local residents continue to have concerns.”

He warns that 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 communi- ties”.

He adds: “We all want to see the benefits that active travel brings to be realised, but poorly implemented schemes will make no friends for the policy or more broadly for active travel…

“The crucial test is, does it deliver for the community it serves, and has it been done with their consultation. Schemes must balance the needs of cyclists and pedestrians with the needs of other road users, including motorists and local businesses. Only authorities which have passed these key tests will receive the funding they have asked for.

“I want to be absolutely clear: we are not prepared to tolerate hastily introduced schemes which will create sweeping changes to communities without consultation, and ones where the benefits to cycling and walking do not outweigh the dis-benefits for other road users.”

The letter comes after thousands of people have held demonstra- tions and signed petitions forcing some town hall bosses into a series of humiliating U-turns after they introduced schemes with lit- tle or no public consultation.

Last month, the Telegraph revealed how some councils were mak- ing hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines from motorists driving on newly closed roads.

Projects in some parts of London have proven so divisive that planters have been daubed with graffiti and bollards ripped from the concrete. In one West London borough, opposition has been so vehement that police have had to attend to support the coun- cil workers as they installed planters and bollards to close off roads.

So far, a total of £42,102,454 has been secured by 111 councils in England, including many London boroughs where opposition has been most vocal.


Literally on press deadline we received a response from the Department for Transport which was sent to all those who have signed the above petition. Here is a summary of their response:-

“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.

“Local authorities have a duty to manage their roads for the benefit of all traffic, including cyclists and pedestrians. The more people that cycle and walk, the more road space is freed up for those who really need to drive. Encouraging more cycling and walking is a key part of the Government’s efforts to reduce harmful emissions from transport, as well as to help make people healthier.”

Their message includes:- • Low-traffic neighbourhoods deliver a wide range of benefits, including better air quality.

• There are often concerns that reallocating road space will have a negative impact on business. However, evidence shows that people who walk and cycle take more trips to the high street over the course of a month than people who drive. Making access to high streets easier by walking and cycling has a proven economic benefit. Well planned improvements in the walking environment can deliver up to a 40% increase in shopping footfall and high street walking, cycling and public realm improvements can increase retail sales by up to 30%.

• Evidence also shows that investment in cycling and walking is supported by the majority of people in local communities. Although some schemes have attracted negative attention, this is still only a small minority of the people living in those areas.

• [Local authorities] will need to be mindful of the requirements of equalities legislation, ensuring, for example, that in redesigning and reallocating road space they take careful account of the impact this may have on disabled people.

• Many of the schemes are ‘trials’, which require consultation – carried out alongside the implementation so that changes can be made in response to feedback

• Local authorities must consult with the emergency services to ensure access is maintained. They have been generally supportive of low- traffic neighbourhoods, and in some cases, their access has improved because narrow, unsuitable roads are no longer full of traffic.

Do you honestly believe this response answers the points raised by the petition? In fact it is exactly the opposite of, the many complaints, opinions and views as voiced by thousands of residents – and taxi/PHV drivers – in communities all over the UK. Therefore as a resounding message, we urge you to sign this petition to try to get to the point (100,000 signatures) where Government must act, and debate the matter in Parliament. WHO CARES ABOUT OUR TRADE? WE DO!

0161 280 2800 JOIN THE NPHTA NOW!


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