Exclusive: Nigel Farage’s roads election pledge
Nigel Farage has promised to field candidates against “any and every” local politician who supports the “madness” of the Government’s green transport revolution, The Telegraph can reveal.
In an outspoken attack on Grant Shapps’s £250 million scheme to promote cycling and walking, the leader of the Reform Party has condemned the controversial policy as a “disaster” that has caused “untold misery”.
The move comes as The Telegraph today reveals how soaring levels of dangerous nitrogen oxide from exhaust fumes at sites within ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ in London dropped significantly just days after road closures were scrapped. The research by Wandsworth Council suggests traffic congestion and pollution is being shifted from more affluent neighbourhoods to main roads, often the location of poorer housing and estates.
Meanwhile, a survey of councils reveals one in four town halls have scrapped or reduced road closures and pop-up cycle lanes after public opposition.
Writing in today’s paper, Mr Farage says: “My new party will stand candidates against any and every local councillor who backs these new cycle lanes and road closures in next year’s local elections.
“If measures to improve the environment really are necessary, they can only be introduced sensibly and with proper consultation, not sneaked through cynically under the guise of the pandemic.
“This has become a very important issue for the Reform Party.”
He argues the Conservative Party has used the policy to try to “show off its eco-credentials” but the UK “simply cannot afford to blow money on trendy ‘green’ projects like this”, especially, he says, when so few cyclists use the new lanes.
He says many low traffic neighbourhoods are “environmentally counterproductive” and even “downright dangerous” because they can slow down ambulances and fire engines responding to emergencies.
A Freedom of Information request to the Royal Borough of Greenwich has revealed the level of concern the schemes have had.
The document states how the London Ambulance Service “cannot support any scheme that involves the closure of a road using static bollards, lockable bollards, gates or physical barriers like planters.”
It explains how paramedics do not carry the specific keys required to unlock such blockades, adding that “existing schemes already create us problems … and not generally routinely maintained … and are difficult to unlock anyway.”
The report continues: “Reducing access to residential streets would significantly impact on our ability to reach patients quickly.”
It concludes: “Paramedics already have a stressful job managing patient care and cannot be further stressed by having to navigate complex road closures when trying to reach calls…”