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Fury as FIRE ENGINE gets stuck in new cycle lane put in as part of Covid-friendly traffic measures


Has your area been blighted by ‘Covid-friendly’ traffic restrictions? Tell us here 

Has your area been blighted by ‘Covid-friendly’ traffic restrictions? 

Contact us with your pictures and comments at tips@mailonline.co.uk  and james.robinson@mailonline.co.uk 

Footage has emerged of a fire engine becoming stuck in a road block, put in place to create a ‘Covid friendly’ cycle lanes, as furious residents up and down the country continue to rage against similar schemes – dubbed a ‘war on motorists’.

The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white car in Ferndale, south London.

As firefighters ditch the vehicle and make the short walk to the nearby incident, one angry resident can be heard raging against the scheme, saying: ‘You are trying to say this is good for us?’

The video comes as residents across Britain continue to slam the implementation of so-called Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) – which have been used by councils to wage war on motorists under the government’s controversial Active Travel project.

The scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid on footpaths and cycle during the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it is being implemented to ‘punish’ motorists.

Furious motorists across the UK have accused the government of a ‘war on drivers’ with the scheme, which has seen roads blocked, traffic congestion increased and journey times lengthened.

Angry residents in several London boroughs are said to be planning protests this weekend against LTN schemes in their areas. MailOnline readers have also shared some of their LTN nightmares,today.

Meanwhile, a mother who lives a short walk from where the footage of the fire engine was shot, at the end of last month, claims the time it takes to complete her school run has trebled as a result of the LTN scheme imposed by Lambeth Council. 

The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle appearing to be wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white vehicle in Ferndale, south London

The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle appearing to be wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white vehicle in Ferndale, south London

The fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles

Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

The fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles. Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

Firefighters continued to the scene of the incident, which involved a resident being locked out of their home, on foot after their fire engine became stuck

Firefighters continued to the scene of the incident, which involved a resident being locked out of their home, on foot after their fire engine became stuck

The Low Traffic Neighbour (LTN) area for the Ferndale area, covered by Lambeth Council, covers the area around Lambeth Hospital

The Low Traffic Neighbour (LTN) area for the Ferndale area, covered by Lambeth Council, covers the area around Lambeth Hospital 

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Ferndale

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Ferndale

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Brixton – even passing near to her home ‘a number of times’ in the process.

The stay-at-home mother-of-three, who has lived in the area for 30 years, claims councils are using Covid-19 as an excuse to clamp down on motorists, who she says are being ‘discriminated against.’

She said: ‘It’s ridiculous. I have to pass my house numerous times and go round the back just to access the road I live on.

‘I dread to think if the emergency services have to get to me or someone down my road.

‘I’ve lived here for 30 years and we have never had a problem. This is causing a problem for lots of people.

‘They are pushing people on to already busy roads. It’s like a car park in rush hour.

‘And not everyone can walk or cycle. I have three children and I do a big weekly shop. I can’t carry that home.’

She added: ‘During the pandemic a lot of people in the community were coming together – helping people go to the shops – but that is so difficult now that people don’t have the time.’

What is the government’s active travel scheme and why are motorists upset?

The Government is spending £225 million on active travel measures across the country, most notably in London, Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham and York.

A major initiative launched by the Department for Transport in May set aside £225m for ’emergency active travel schemes for local authorities due to the pandemic’.

The department says the money will enable local authorities to produce ‘new cycling and walking facilities’ and its altered road and parking schemes will promote recovery.

However, Emergency Active Travel Fund money comes with a string attached. Councils must satisfy officials ‘they have swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians (both groups rather than one or the other), including on strategic corridors.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle.

BCP Council was awarded around £1.4million from the government for the project.

Meanwhile the London Fire Bridge (LFB) said the incident involving the stuck fire engine in Ferndale happened when firefighters were attending a person locked out of their home six doors down from where the fire engine was pictured. 

A spokesperson said: ‘There was no delay to our attendance and there was no damage to the fire engine or the parked cars.’

The spokesperson added the the brigade ‘supports the LTN in order to assist the recovery from the pandemic and to promote active travel,’ and that it is consulted by councils on any proposed road changes.

Lambeth Council meanwhile says the position of the planter, which was placed as part of the trial LTN scheme, was changed the day after the incident.

Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Leader added: ‘It is important to ensure those who do not have access to a car – around 60 per cent of Lambeth residents – aren’t forced to walk or cycle on dangerous roads or forced to use public transport whilst the risk of transmission remains high.

‘These projects aim to redress this balance, making it safer for everyone to walk and cycle, so that those without a car have genuine transport options whilst leaving our road clear for those that absolutely have to use them.’

The outrage over the LTNs continues as residents in London are said to be planning a series of protests this weekend against various schemes in their area.

Protests are set to take place outside town halls in Lambeth, Islington, Ealing and Wandsworth, among other places. 

It comes as residents in those areas have hit out at road closures, which have caused added congestion to already busy roads in the boroughs.

Footage from Upper Tooting Road, which runs through a new set of LTN areas put in last month by Wandsworth Council, shows two fire engine struggling to negotiate through traffic while heading to an emergency.

Footage from Upper Tooting Road, covered by Wandsworth Council, which runs through a new LTN area, shows a fire engine struggling to work through traffic while heading to an emergency

Upper Tooting Road runs through a major new LTN area which has been installed by the council

Footage from Upper Tooting Road, covered by Wandsworth Council, which runs through a new LTN area, shows a fire engine struggling to work through traffic while heading to an emergency

A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council told MaiOnline: ‘We’ve introduced some experimental traffic schemes on a temporary trial basis to encourage alternative forms of travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing rules in place on public transport.

‘These pilot schemes are being constantly monitored and kept under review and if evidence shows they need amending or changing we will make those changes.’

Alongside the LTN scheme in Tooting, the area has also been part of the Transport for London’s ‘StreetSpace’ changes have had on the A24 red route, which has had a major impact on traffic in the area.

Meanwhile, in the latest furore caused by the scheme, angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off to create a new cycle lane.

However, the signs were soon taken down by ‘jobsworth’ council workers, in case a cyclist crashed into one of the planters and injured themselves on the screws in the placards.

Locals were left stunned by the explanation – especially as the planters themselves had been installed by the council.

The road closure has seen residents have to take a ‘massive detour’ to get to their own homes, causing anger at the timing of the new scheme. 

Angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off, placing them in timber containers

Angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off, placing them in timber containers 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle

Neighbouring street Bird Hill Road has also become a no-through road and Churchfield Road is also a no-through road with a closure to motorists at its junction with Fernside Road.

The signs, which carried the slogan ‘open our road’ were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole.

Mrs Hewitt, 61, has accused the council of ‘making up excuses’.

She said: ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous. They have put the bollards in place yet it is my signs that were of mortal danger to cyclists.

‘The workmen just turned up, pulled the signs out and tossed them in the back of their truck.

‘It was only because I saw them that I was able to get them back.

‘They told me that someone could crash and hit their head on the screws which were poking through.

‘I’ll be the first to admit that my DIY is not what it should be and the screw heads were poking through but even so, it does sound like an excuse rather than a reason.

‘We’re now in a position where we are pinned in our road for the next six months and have to take a massive detour to get to our own driveways.’

The active travel scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it 'punishes' motorists

The active travel scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it ‘punishes’ motorists

The signs, which carried the slogan 'open our road' were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt (centre) at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole

The signs, which carried the slogan ‘open our road’ were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt (centre) at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle.

BCP Council was awarded around £1.4million from the government for the project.

Objectors have complained that there has been no public consultation and the first they were aware of it was when the roads were blocked off with planters and bollards.

The temporary measures were put in place in August until 7 March 2021, before a decision would be made on whether they would become permanent. 

The local authority has been approached for comment.

The decision was made as part of a controversial government project that has seen hundreds of residential roads across the country blocked off in similar fashion.

In many cases, residents have complained that the move has resulted in usually quieter side roads being turned into rat-runs by motorists who have had to divert. 

Photographs taken last week across the capital in the likes of Tooting, Streatham, Balham, Islington, Mayfair and Victoria showed how the new cycle lanes were empty while cars and vans sat in heavy traffic alongside them. 

The Government is spending £225 million on similar measures across the country, most notably in Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Derby and Cardiff. 

One van driver complained about a scheme in Bristol, saying it adds 20 minutes to his journeys.

He previously told MailOnline: ‘These measures are adding about 20 minutes per hour to every journey. Which means I’m working longer for less. It’s crazy.’ 

‘It was 3pm on Wednesday, when traffic would usually be light, but a tailback snaked behind and ahead of Steve for more than a mile.

‘On August 3, the council reduced the space for powered vehicles on Lewins Mead from two lanes to one.

‘Since then, the nearside lane has become a thoroughfare for bicycles. Incidentally, while at the junction for 30 minutes, I saw only one cyclist use the bike lane.’  

Frustrated MailOnline readers share their Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) nightmares as councils block off their roads to create cycle lanes 

Katie Taylor, Brixton, London

‘I live on Shakespeare Road and have been on the wrong end of a newly imposed LTN implemented by the Lambeth council. 

‘We received less that one week’s notice of the changes (as did Network Rail and many other local businesses which have now been detrimentally impacted by the scheme). 

‘The scheme continues to be extremely polarising and is causing HUGE levels of upset to many residents who are concerned about a wide ranging number of issues: Disability access, access for care workers, concern for local businesses, increased pollution on neighbouring road, impact on house prices on those who have been cut off from their own neighbourhoods, delivery services, Uber trips, additional journey times for work journeys, safety (Roads are now dead!) There are huge fractures emerging and a growing sense of hostility between different groups.

‘We are now working on local movements like ‘One Railton’ and ‘One Oval’ to try to push our local councils to listen, but so far they are refusing to engage with us in a meaningful way.’

Samantha Cooray, Oval, London 

‘I live in the Oval and we were the first to be subjected to ‘LTNs’ in Lambeth in June with no notification or consultation (under ‘Emergency Covid legislation).

‘We are right on the congestion charge boundary too with 5 schools along the boundary roads.

Traffic congestion in Landsdown Way, Oval

Traffic congestion in Harleyford Road, Oval

Samantha Cooray says Clapham Road, Brixton Road and South Lambeth Road are all affected. Pictured left: Congestion on Landsdown Way. Pictured right: Traffic on Harleyford Road, Oval

‘Self-employed, disabled, those with elderly relatives, local businesses all affected – all so a few wealthy residents can have their private (B road – Fentiman) on enclave. 

‘Clapham Road, Brixton Road and South Lambeth Road all connect Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s and George’s hospitals and ambulances, the fire bridage and police are frequently stuck in displaced traffic.

‘Those of us ‘outside’ the LTN are now breathing in lots more pollution, with no more people cycling in reality.’

Morgan Douglas, Bowes Park, London

‘Enfield council have decide with pressure from cyclist lobby groups to close off access to the Bowes area so that we can only access our homes via the most congested roads in the UK – the A406 north circular.

‘The scheme’s masters openly admit that traffic on the main roads surrounding the are will increase.

These roads are the locations for our primary school, which already has some of the worst pollution measurements and even has its own measuring facility.

‘We are on the border of TFL controlled roads, two councils and three voting wards and so no one really has any say so a proper area wide solution can not be sort as all the groups cants seem to sit down and find a solution.

‘Many smaller roads are now taking the brunt off this ill-thought-out plan with stationary traffic.

‘Today an ambulance was parked up at one of these barriers and the police chased someone up to the barrier for them to whizz through and leave the police banging their wheel in frustration.’

Sarah Johnson, Paulsgrove, Portsmouth 

‘After reading your story about the road closure in Poole it hit a nerve with what we are experiencing here in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth.

‘The road in question is called Portsdown Road and is shared with both Fareham and Portsmouth City Council’s but apparently is under Hampshire county council in regard to highways. 

Sarah Johnson, who lives in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, said Hampshire County Council is closing off Paulsgrove Road in Portsmouth

Sarah Johnson, who lives in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth, said Hampshire County Council is closing off Paulsgrove Road in Portsmouth

She says that residents were only give two days notice that the road would be closed under a new scheme to encourage more people to cycle and walk

She says that residents were only give two days notice that the road would be closed under a new scheme to encourage more people to cycle and walk

‘It has been decided by Hampshire to block Portsdown Road to cars as it will stop the spread of Covid-19 to pedestrians.

‘They only told the residents on the Fareham side two days before the closure and ignored the Portsmouth residents completely, not even informing Portsmouth City Council.

‘This road has a railway bridge over it and there is no pavement when walking under it.

However it is not exactly heaving with people I use the road regularly and barely see anyone else.’

Steve Radford, West Derby Road, Liverpool 

‘The West Derby Road is one of the major arterial roads into the city and, unlike others, does not have a rail link as an alternative to motor traffic

‘We have sent in over 500 residents’ and traders’ statements against the pop-up cycle lane scheme. The online petition has exceeded 2,000 signatures.  

‘Every day we have our local ambulance station and police cars blocked in, including on the feeder Road Lower Breck Road blocked and Millbank tailback.’ 

Steve Radford says a pop-up cycle lane scheme in West Derby Road in Liverpool is causing major traffic problems on the arterial route

Traffic pictured on West Derby Road in Liverpool

Steve Radford says a pop-up cycle lane scheme in West Derby Road in Liverpool is causing major traffic problems on the arterial route 

Another Liverpool resident, Mike Turton said: ‘The local council In its wisdom has now reduced the large dual carriageway on Stanley Road, Bootle down to one lane to allow for cycle lanes.

‘Pre-Covid this route was nose to tail in both lanes for the rush hour traffic and this has now been reduced down to one lane which incorporates a right turn, all to accommodate cyclists. 

Leanne Bell, Lee Green, London

‘I am a Greenwich council resident, however across the road is Lewisham Council.

‘Lewisham council have closed off so many road in the local area. The impact on the traffic now outside my home which is a main road (A20) is becoming unbearable.

‘I live in a flat with no garden or outside space of my own.

‘There is also a bus stop and traffic camera directly opposite my home which bring much more of the noise and traffic fumes into my living room.

‘It seems so unfair that I live in a very small flat and the large homes with gardens opposite now also have the roads to do as they please!’

Has YOUR street been impacted by a traffic calming scheme? Contact james.robinson@mailonline.co.uk 



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