Speaking yesterday during a parliamentary debate, Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight became the latest politician to blame cycle infrastructure for urban congestion problems. Knight said that pollution is, “going up because pavements have got wider and road space is being turned over to cycle lanes.”
Two weeks ago, Lord Tebbit claimed that the "cause of the excess nitrous oxide in the air in this area of Westminster and along the Embankment is those wretched barricades which have been put up by the former mayor.”
The barricades in question were those, “which have been put up in order to assist cyclists – who also get in the way on the main road.”
BikeBiz reports that while enquiring when the Government’s air quality plan is likely to be published, Knight echoed Tebbit’s sentiments.
“Is there not a case — I say this with respect — for making local authorities take into account the congestion effects of their crusade to remove road space in favour of wider pavements and more cycle lanes?
“Someone said to me the other day that there are fewer cars entering central London but that pollution is going up. Well, obviously it is going up because pavements have got wider and road space is being turned over to cycle lanes. The Mayor of London cannot have it both ways. If he wishes to reduce air pollution, he and others need to take care when they are seeking to remove highway lanes.”
Knight is a director of H&H Classics Ltd, a classic car auctions company, and also chair of the all-party parliamentary historic vehicles group.
Labour’s Rob Flello is another MP to voice similar concerns. Announcing the launch of a government inquiry into urban congestion in January, he suggested that “loss of tarmac” for cycle lanes could be a major cause of London’s congestion problems.
A 2016 INRIX report into congestion concluded that Transport for London’s £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan, together with the £15 billion Crossrail programme, would ultimately reduce congestion by 20 per cent, characterising the ongoing construction work as “short term pain for long term gain.”