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Department for Transport say councils must give walking and cycling schemes time

Three councils are currently facing court action for removing cycle lanes

The Department for Transport say local authorities must 'always' leave cycling and walking schemes in place long enough to be properly assessed after it was revealed three councils face court action for removing cycle lanes.

Minister of State for Transport, Chris Heaton-Harris said that the government would shortly be issuing guidance to all local transport authorities 'making it clear' that school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods, and cycle lanes, should be given time to have an impact.

He said: "The Department will be issuing updated statutory Network Management Duty guidance to all local transport authorities shortly which will make clear that they should always leave cycling and walking schemes in place for long enough for their impacts to be properly assessed."

The statement came as Cycling UK revealed that three councils are currently facing court action for removing cycle lanes and experimental traffic orders.

In February of this year, Cycling UK applied to the High Court for a judicial review of West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) decision to remove a cycle lane along the A270 Upper Shoreham Road in Shoreham.

> 'Not a good use of public money': minister says council who ripped up pop-up cycle lane can't bid for more active travel funding

In March, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), the council's leadership team unanimously agreed not to reinstall a government-funded cycle lane. 

> Kensington & Chelsea Council refuses to reinstate High Street cycle lane

This decision led local group Better Streets for Kensington to issue judicial review proceedings in June against RKBC. 

In August 2020, Keyhole Bridge in Poole was closed to motor traffic under an experimental traffic order (ETRO).

But in January, Transport Portfolio holder Mike Greene decided to remove the restrictions, despite officer advice, the equalities impact assessment, and public opinion all favouring the filter remaining in place.  

As a result, the Keyhole Bridge Group issued judicial review proceedings last month against Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council.

 On 26 May the High Court refused Cycling UK’s application for the judicial review of the A270 cycle lane.

The group has now appealed that decision in the Court of Appeal.

Cycling UK head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, said: "We’re obviously disappointed that we lost in the High Court and have had to take the case to the Court of Appeal. 

"However, the issues involved in this case and in both Poole and Kensington are too important for us just to roll over. Allowing these councils to remove cycle lanes and other active travel infrastructure without regard to guidance, legal obligations or due process could threaten cycle provision in other places."

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