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Massive support to ban rat-running drivers from London’s Royal Parks

Eight in ten respondents to consultation call agree that parks are not for rush-hour motorists

Almost eight in ten respondents to a consultation on how people reach and move around London’s Royal Parks believe that rat-running motorists should be banned from them.

The consultation was held by the Royal Parks charity, which manages eight parks in London, and certain other green spaces in the capital, on behalf of the government, and sought to address how people access the parks and move around them.

Those parks are Bushy Park, Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St James’s Park. Windsor Great Park is also designated a Royal Park, but is managed by the Crown Estate.

One of the statements on which views were sought as part of the consultation into the Royal Parks Movement Strategy was:

Park roads are primarily for people visiting our parks. We should seek to discourage the through-movement of commuting motor vehicles in our parks. This question correlates with the fourth draft movement principle; Our park roads are not intended to be commuter through-routes for motor vehicles.

78 per cent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the statement, while 17 per cent strongly disagreed or disagreed with it.

In addition, 2,600 comments were received in relation to the statement, with Royal Parks saying that feedback included:

Most cars within the park are rat running through the park and not visiting the park

The need for further enforcement of speeding vehicles and commercial vehicles

The need to acknowledge the knock-on traffic effects on local streets if the park reduces existing through-movements.

87 per cent of respondents identifying as cyclists agreed with the statement, with 11 per cent expressing disagreement.

Those identifying as drivers were perhaps surprisingly almost equally split on the issue, with 44 per cent in support, 46 per cent opposed and 10 per cent expressing no preference.

Other issues that the questionnaire sought to explore were whether “changes or developments within our parks should seek to protect, conserve and enhance our parks as a top priority,” that walking should be prioritised within the parks, and that with80 per cent of visitors walking, cycling or using public transport to visit the parks, those modes of travel should be prioritised.

A number of London’s Royal Parks are heavily used by cyclists. Both Hyde Park and Green Park lie on the route of the east-west cycleway, while Richmond Park is particularly popular with road cyclists at weekends.

Plans to route a cycleway through Regent’s Park – also popular with cyclists, many of whom use the Outer Circle for training laps – and close its gates to rush-hour motorists were scrapped however after the Court of Appeal upheld a legal challenge from Westminster Council.

> Court of Appeal upholds Westminster's legal block to Cycle Superhighway 11 - campaigners brand council's action "shameful"

Simon joined 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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