London's new cycle lanes are causing traffic chaos, says transport secretary
An influx of new cycle lanes in London and across the country has led to increased traffic congestion, according to transport secretary Grant Shapps. Shapps has written to local council leaders, warning them that badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes were causing havoc for communities and that he "would not be prepared to tolerate" it.
Read more: London restaurants urge Sadiq Khan to drop congestion charge The Department for Transport created a GBP250m fund in May for local councils to encourage greater walking and cycling after the original Covid lockdown was lifted.
This has included the creation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London, which restrict the use of cars in certain areas. Many people in London have complained that the new cycle lanes, and the attached road closures, have been increasing congestion at peak times. Figures from GPS company TomTom released two weeks ago showed London's traffic congestion had increased by almost 25 per cent in the past year.
Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data Shapps' letter sent to local authorities on Friday warned that a "notable number of councils used their funding poorly and were simply out of step with the needs of the local communities," according to the Sunday Telegraph. He added: "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."
The transport secretary also warned that councils would get less in the the second round of funding for the scheme if they did not run community consultations on any future plans.
Some Londoners have expressed anger at some of the changes made by mayor Sadiq Khan in his Low Traffic Neighbourhoods scheme.
This has seen cars banned in roads adjacent to places like Hyde Park, Green Park and St James' Park.