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Lord Lawson says cycling is most damaging thing for London since the Blitz

Tory peer also says trying to get people on bikes is age-discriminatory - and gets slapped down

Lord Lawson has claimed that cycling is “doing more damage to London than almost anything since the Blitz.” Another Tory peer, Lord Higgins, has said that the Cycle Superhighways currently being built in the capital were responsible for more traffic jams and pollution.

The remarks were made during questions put to parliamentary under-secretary of state for transaport, Lord Ahmad, about Transport for London (TfL) in the House of Lords today.

Lord Higgins asked him whether  in view of the success of the conference on climate change over the weekend,” he would “have urgent discussions with Transport for London about the appalling increases in congestion and pollution caused by the introduction of bicycle lanes, which are in use in large numbers only in the peak period?

“Will he at least ensure that other traffic can use those lanes during the course of the day? In the present situation on Lower Thames Street, for example, they are likely to die from carbon monoxide or other poisoning from pollution any moment now.”

Another peer, Lord Sugar, recently took to Twitter to bemoan the fact that he had been held up in traffic while sitting in a car on Lower Thames Street – just days after he had taken delivery of a new Pinarello.

> Lord Sugar complains about London Cycle Superhighway works

The Cycle Superhighway works, however, are minor compared to two huge civil engineering projects currently underway in the city – Crossrail, and the so-called “Supersewer.”

Lord Ahmad said he believed the members of the house would all “acknowledge the benefits of cycling across London. I stress that the Mayor of London has primary responsibility for planning in London, along with the air quality strategy.

“The introduction of cycle lanes is partly to encourage more sustainable forms of travel across the capital,” he added.

Lord Lawson, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher government from 1983-89, asked whether Lord Higgins had not been “absolutely right that what is happening now has done more damage, and is doing more damage, to London than almost anything since the Blitz?”

Some might suggest that the policies of urban planners in the decades following the devastation wrought by the Luftwaffe caused far more long-term damage than installation of the Cycle Superhighways will.

But Lord Lawson, a climate change denier who lives most of the time in France, also asked: “Is it not also hugely age discriminatory? There is a huge section of the population of a certain age, well represented in this House — I declare an interest — for whom cycling is not a practical option.”

“I suggest to my noble friend that it is never too late to start,” was Lord Ahmad’s laconic reply.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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45 comments

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WolfieSmith | 8 years ago
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Lord Lawson is a real nuisance to the global warming debate. A cynical manipulator, in the pocket of oil and gas companies, who will not be alive when the real trouble starts.  His burbling is such a waste of an opportunity to promote green tech and leave a legacy for good. I loath him. 

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Crankpoet | 8 years ago
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So much bile on this, why is everyone so chippy? An old man has made a comment which is at best a bit of hyperbole and suddenly we are in a massive debate (again) about climate change. Two things are, however, clear:  that motor vehicles emit more pollution when stationary and that bicylce pollution is minisculel in real terms in comparison. Couldn't we just raise a metaphorical eyebrow and wait until the superhighways are built then see where it leaves us?

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thereverent | 8 years ago
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Prehaps it would be best if MPs and Peers (or whatever might replace them in the future) didn't have car parking facilities at the Palace of Westminster, and had to use tube, train, walking or cycling to get in.

In fact if the Palace of Westminster need to be closed for a few year (as some major repairs are needed very soon), I hope the temporary venue will have no parking.

 

The Embankment, Upper Thames Street, Lower Thames Street all use to be gridlocked for large parts of the day, it's just now it gets blamed on the cycle superhighway (which mostly has taken space that coaches use to park in).

Similar complaints were made when the north side of Trafalgar Square was pedestrianised (Taxi drivers complaining of "worst ever congestion"), but everyone adapted to it.

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Tired of the tr... | 8 years ago
2 likes

Never mind climate change, what we really must oppose is the theory of "gravitation". I mean, invented by this Galileo guy after dropping a few stones off a tower and taking his heartbeat as timer, how ridiculuous is that? He didn't even put his original data on the internet! 

It's all the ENGINEERS who promote gravitationalism. Its a GRAVY TRAIN CASH COW. All money they make from adding steel pillars to bridges, buildings and stuff just because "gravitation".

The CYCLING industry is in it as well. Stop believing their LIES about "gravitation", they just want us to buy expensive deraillers etc (low gears against uphills  "gravitation") and disk brakes (against downhills "graviation").

Don't waste time on climate change, RTB and freebasd_frank, attack the REAL ENEMY the global graviationalists (aka GRAVY TRAIN PROFITEERS) who TRICKED us into paying our hard-earned money to protect us against "gravitation". THIS HAS TO STOP!!!!!!

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hawkinspeter replied to Tired of the trolls here and gone cycling instead | 8 years ago
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Stephan Matthiesen wrote:

Never mind climate change, what we really must oppose is the theory of "gravitation". I mean, invented by this Galileo guy after dropping a few stones off a tower and taking his heartbeat as timer, how ridiculuous is that? He didn't even put his original data on the internet! 

It's all the ENGINEERS who promote gravitationalism. Its a GRAVY TRAIN CASH COW. All money they make from adding steel pillars to bridges, buildings and stuff just because "gravitation".

The CYCLING industry is in it as well. Stop believing their LIES about "gravitation", they just want us to buy expensive deraillers etc (low gears against uphills  "gravitation") and disk brakes (against downhills "graviation").

Don't waste time on climate change, RTB and freebasd_frank, attack the REAL ENEMY the global graviationalists (aka GRAVY TRAIN PROFITEERS) who TRICKED us into paying our hard-earned money to protect us against "gravitation". THIS HAS TO STOP!!!!!!

Nice post, but you missed out "WAKE UP SHEEPLE" and "DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH" to fill out my conspiracy bingo card.

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bikebot | 8 years ago
1 like

//pbs.twimg.com/media/CWRN82aWcAAl_UU.jpg)

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RTB | 8 years ago
0 likes

Point 1:

Climate has been changing for the last 4.5 billion years what is so special about now?  World has been far hotter and colder than now throughout its history and will continue to do so for the next several billion years until it is turned to ashes by a red giant event.  Too many people listening to and being gullified by the non-scientists at the BBC and the Grauniad and their groundless supposition.   The longer term trend is towards ice age but irrespective of that a single bad sneeze from the Sun could end it all in the blink of an eye.

 

Point 2:

Lawson is none of: an 'idiot'; or 'gaga'; or a 'plank'; or 'mad'.  Actually a brilliant mind that is still very acute and pinpoint.  Doesn't mean he is right on everything though or ill judged in his comments as he clearly was here.

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fenix | 8 years ago
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30,000 Londoners died in the blitz with 50,000 injured. And he is comparing that to some traffic congestion??

What an odious man.

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Carton replied to fenix | 8 years ago
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fenix wrote:

30,000 Londoners died in the blitz with 50,000 injured. And he is comparing that to some traffic congestion?? What an odious man.

That Lord Lawson is being absolutely nonsensical is evident, as is the fact that he was: (a) not in any way comparing whatever uninteligible issue he seems to have with cycling lanes to the Blitz, hence the "since"; and (b) employing hyperbole, as all politicians are wont to do. 

Also, the right over-sensitive censor-happy obsfuscator of truth that I am, I tend to agree with the news media in not placing "contracting Alzheimers disease" on my list of things to knock Margaret Thatcher (or well, pretty much anyone) for.

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The goat | 8 years ago
3 likes

Lawson -

  • the man in his prime who fuelled an already overheated property market in the late eighties and saw it crash within 2 years.
  • the man who pushed Thatcher towards the ERM and the disaster that ensued (15% interest rates).  Strangley, he now campaigns for us leave the EU.
  • the climate change denier and fracking supporter, a process which is proving to be such an economic disaster in the US with many companies relying on borrowing to stay in production.

House of Lords - the unpaid, unlected chamber that costs the country £21M a year in expenses alone.  Essentially care in the community for nobs.

 

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RTB replied to The goat | 8 years ago
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The goat wrote:

Lawson -

  • the man in his prime who fuelled an already overheated property market in the late eighties and saw it crash within 2 years.
  • the man who pushed Thatcher towards the ERM and the disaster that ensued (15% interest rates).  Strangley, he now campaigns for us leave the EU.
  • the climate change denier and fracking supporter, a process which is proving to be such an economic disaster in the US with many companies relying on borrowing to stay in production.

House of Lords - the unpaid, unlected chamber that costs the country £21M a year in expenses alone.  Essentially care in the community for nobs.

 

Strike 3 for you and out.

- Property market speaks for itself over the last 35 years (up and to the right basically but you know that too)

- Nope that was John Major (chancellor) followed by Normal Lamont.  Lawson left when the economy was in great shape.

- Nope he is a 'global warming denier (as in man made)' not a climate change denier.  Climate has been changing for >4.5 billion years.  What is to deny.  It is a fact.

 

HoL - first bit agree.  2nd bit not really.  E.g. had it not been for their role in kicking out the working tax credits' changes it would now be in the statute book so hardly 'nobs' eh?

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RedfishUK | 8 years ago
1 like

Don't worry this is a Democracy we can give these idiots their marching orders at the next election....oh shit!

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brooksby | 8 years ago
4 likes
Quote:

Lord Lawson says cycling is most damaging thing for London since the Blitz

I wonder if he's friends with that guy who was complaining recently that building a new cycle path would lead to terrorism and the end of the world.

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teaboy | 8 years ago
1 like
Quote:

Lord Lawson, a climate change denier who lives most of the time in France, also asked: “Is it not also hugely age discriminatory? There is a huge section of the population of a certain age, well represented in this House — I declare an interest — for whom cycling is not a practical option.”

Well it's a lot more practical than it used to be, and is becoming more practical on an almost daily basis.

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earth | 8 years ago
1 like

I would suggest driving is not a practical option for most of the geriatrics that reside in the house of lords.  Once you become an OAP your driving liscence should be swapped for a free bus pass.

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ron611087 | 8 years ago
2 likes

Lord Lawson is a climate science denier. His relationship with evidence and reality is tenous at best.

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RTB replied to ron611087 | 8 years ago
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ron611087 wrote:

Lord Lawson is a climate science denier. His relationship with evidence and reality is tenous at best.

Nope.  He is a 'man made global warming denier' and actually pays far closer attention than most (certainly including you it would also seem) at climate science since it is a raison d'etre for him.

Soundbites are cheap and easy.  You might at least try a little harder to get them right.

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commonsensehuman | 8 years ago
4 likes

"Lord Lawson says cycling is most damaging thing for London since the Blitz"

 

versus

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog

 

 

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Ride2Wk replied to commonsensehuman | 8 years ago
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commonsensehuman wrote:

"Lord Lawson says cycling is most damaging thing for London since the Blitz"

versus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Smog

Interesting comparison since England didn't get air pollution control laws until the Clear Air Act in 1956 but Hitler had introduced pollution reducing laws in Germany in the 1930s. (His mother died of cancer and he blamed it on factory air pollution.) If Hitler had won the war maybe you wouldn't have had to put up with the House of Lords and had less smog instead? Although Hitler was also anti-cyclist as he believed cycling was only for poor people. Since they both hated cyclists and believe they are better than everyone else, does that mean the House of Lords are the same as the Nazi party?

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harrybav | 8 years ago
1 like

I quite like the fellow. He is pals with the former Greek finance guy. He's wrong on this, of course, and on other important bits n bobs.

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pauld | 8 years ago
3 likes

Yet again, an out of touch politician making stupid comments, and to top it off, the plank doesn't even live in the UK. Grade 1 Plank.. I wasn't around during the Blitz, but i'm pretty sure it was hell, whereas cycling, is it hell or are these justa bunch of out of touch muppetts. I can't help but think of Waldorf and Statler from the Muppetts.

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/5/5d/Statler%26Waldorf5thseason.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20101102120504

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joemmo | 8 years ago
3 likes

Nigel Lawson crying "discrimination!". Priceless.

A clearly intelligent man who has chosen to waste his remaining influence trying to deny a better future for those less privileged than he is. Repulsive.

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gazza_d | 8 years ago
4 likes

Dunno about Higgins, but Lord Lawson is a climate change denier with his filthy snout in lots of fossil fuel companies. His objections are seriously biased 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/02/nigel-lawson-climate-...

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RTB replied to gazza_d | 8 years ago
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gazza_d wrote:

Dunno about Higgins, but Lord Lawson is a climate change denier with his filthy snout in lots of fossil fuel companies. His objections are seriously biased 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/02/nigel-lawson-climate-...

You reference the Grauniad for anything non-sporting and expect to be taken seriously... Really?

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HarrogateSpa | 8 years ago
6 likes

Might it be time for the Conservatives to expel Nigel Lawson from their party?

He's been arguing that climate change isn't happening, or doesn't matter, when clearly it is and it does. If someone's argument was that the earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese, and they had murky sources of funding from planet benders or cheese miners, you wouldn't tolerate them.

Now we have him making a convoluted case for how low-impact transport which causes no pollution is responsible for damage and pollution in London. Is he becoming too much of an embarrassement?

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Recumbenteer replied to HarrogateSpa | 8 years ago
1 like
HarrogateSpa wrote:

Might it be time for the Conservatives to expel Nigel Lawson from their party?

He's been arguing that climate change isn't happening, or doesn't matter, when clearly it is and it does. If someone's argument was that the earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese, and they had murky sources of funding from planet benders or cheese miners, you wouldn't tolerate them.

Now we have him making a convoluted case for how low-impact transport which causes no pollution is responsible for damage and pollution in London. Is he becoming too much of an embarrassement?

 

"Lord Lawson's climate denial charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation is helping a Charity Commission inquiry after one of its academic advisors was exposed as willing to author a report praising carbon dioxide while hiding donations from an oil company. 

An undercover investigator from Greenpeace UK posed as a representative for a Middle East oil company and agreed a deal with GWPF's Professor William Happer which would see the academic advisor author the report if a donation was made to the US-based CO2 Coalition." 

 

http://www.desmog.uk/2015/12/08/lord-lawson-faces-investigation-after-ch...

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freebsd_frank replied to Recumbenteer | 8 years ago
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Recumbenteer wrote:

 

"Lord Lawson's climate denial charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation is helping a Charity Commission inquiry after one of its academic advisors was exposed as willing to author a report praising carbon dioxide while hiding donations from an oil company. 

 

An undercover investigator from Greenpeace UK posed as a representative for a Middle East oil company and agreed a deal with GWPF's Professor William Happer which would see the academic advisor author the report if a donation was made to the US-based CO2 Coalition." 

 

http://www.desmog.uk/2015/12/08/lord-lawson-faces-investigation-after-ch...

The fact that you extensively quote from an article written by some
journalist with an agenda about climate change and then post a link to it on
a cycling site, show's that you seriously lack a clue.

How about you and your fellow muppets instead of attacking Lord Lawson for
his views on climate change, address his views with regards cycling?

No. It's so much easier to dismiss his views about anything, irrespective of
their merits by saying:

"He's a climate change denier and therefore wrong, so he's wrong about
everything else too"

The paucity of your worthless argument is self-evident.

What's more, I don't want to hear about your piss-poor arguments with
regards climate change. For one, they'll be worthless (know anything about
mathematical/computer modelling? Thought not.) and secondly they're
off-topic.

 

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Dropped | 8 years ago
5 likes

The thing is, the more people who cycle in London the less congestion there will be and the more room there will be for 83 year old buffoons to be driven around in cars. In addition as the wear caused by bicycles is many orders of magnitude less than that caused by cars and lorrys, the less 'road tax' will be needed to repair 'their' roads. Cycle commuters in London are subsidising the motor vehicle road users to a massive amount - One week of all cycle commuters driving into London by car would lead to utter chaos.

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Argos74 | 8 years ago
5 likes

Spitting Image put it best: Lawson goes bonkers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX3tr8uGYuI

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Grizzerly | 8 years ago
8 likes

Sadly,  poor old Nigel has been gaga for years.  The media either haven't or won't notice. 

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