It has emerged that Conservative party MP’s are set to ask the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to scrap the cycle lanes and road restrictions brought in during the pandemic. A letter has been sent to Grant Shapps by 14 Tory backbenchers to warn that the anti-traffic measures are worsening gridlock and pollution and causing ‘palpable anger’ across the country.
The letter describes the Conservative Party as being currently engaged in a ‘war on the motorist’. The pressure group FairFuelUK has also criticised the Conservative funding of £250million for traffic schemes during the pandemic. As part of this policy councils have used taxpayer cash to turn over vast sections of road to pedestrians and bikes. In some cases, roads have been closed altogether in order to create ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ in residential areas.
The MPs’ letter to Mr Shapps was written by the Tory MP Craig Mackinlay and says: ‘The extra £250million being spent on these projects is simply a high-priced idealistic formula for even more congestion and the associated increased pollution that comes from resultant slower moving or stationary vehicles. This policy is indefensible, with our constituents up in arms at seeing high streets desolated, small businesses ruined, and emergency services impeded. With only 4 per cent of road journeys by bicycle, the over-emphasis on cycling initiatives and their influence on policy is counterproductive, both economically and politically’.
The measures that have angered many have so far cost £400,000 a day. In a move likely to ignite fresh anger, UNN’s Oliver Down understands that Shapps will this week release a further £175million to councils for similar new road schemes. Motoring groups are campaigning hard on this issue, but this intervention by Tory MPs marks a significant turning point in the row.