Campaigners fear traffic congestion will spiral out of control

Prepare for carmageddon: Chaos on the roads predicted next week as children return to school and workers head back to the office amid road closures and new cycle lanes

  • The AA and RAC have warned that roadworks will impact on the school run
  • Shapps’ ‘Green Revolution’ aims to boost greener methods of transport 
  • As of today, there are 1,193 roadworks currently being undertaken across the UK

Campaigners have voiced concerns that congestion on roads across the country could spiral out of control as parents struggle against road works to get their children to school.

The beginning of the new school year comes alongside the drive for workers to return to the office and motoring organisations claim the situation is a perfect storm, according to The Telegraph.

Roadworks have plagued Britain’s roads in the last month as councils move ahead with widening pavements and constructing cycle paths as part of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ £250million ‘Green Revolution’.

Plans launched by Grant Shapps (pictured) in May are aimed at boosting greener methods of transport across the country but the AA and RAC claim that roadworks could cause traffic flow to grind to a halt

The beginning of the new school year comes alongside the drive for workers to return to the office and motoring organisations claim the situation is a perfect storm as works continue to be carried out by local councils. Pictured: Traffic builds because of a new one-way system being installed in Bradford-upon-Avon on August 26

AA’s head of roads policy Jack Cousens has warned that congestion could reach its peak upon the return of the school run.

He told the Telegraph: ‘There has been an ongoing backlash from residents, businesses, taxis and traders, but while councils have introduced restrictions with the best of intentions, the lack of consultation has been very poor.

‘We understand why councils wanted to increase space coming out of lockdown to allow social distancing, but now we appear to have reached the point where that is becoming impractical as schools and workers try to return to normality.’

According to the AA’s website, there are 1,193 roadworks currently being undertaken in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

RAC’s own head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes has said that ironically, the measures put in place by councils to reduce traffic disruption could cause a greater level of congestion.

He said: ‘Councils should be monitoring schemes closely and should be prepared to make change if gridlock ensues.’

A recent AA survey found that as many as one fifth of parents won’t allow their children on public transport because of coronavirus and this could see an increase in traffic of up to 10 per cent. 

A Government spokesperson also confirmed that £40million has been given to local councils to expand capacity outside of public transport.

The plans launched by Grant Shapps in May are aimed at boosting greener methods of transport across the country.

Angry residents in Crystal Palace, South London, protest against road closures earlier this month

Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, and cycle and bus-only corridors are part of the £250 million scheme.

Earlier this month it was also reported  that there was also growing unrest over the changes to street landscapes in areas such as Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Crystal Palace in South London.

Islington Council intends to turn a third of its roads into ‘people friendly streets’ by the end of 2020 using bollards, no entry signs and cameras to close ‘rat-runs’.

Responding to claims the road closures were ‘anti working class’, Islington Council leader Richard Watts tweeted: ‘Car ownership in inner-London is linked to income.

‘The richer you are, the more likely you are to own a car. Truth is we’re stopping affluent people polluting working class communities.

Roadworks on London Bridge are pictured on May 18 as the lockdown began to be eased

‘The protests on Upper Street are being coordinated by an outside group and many of the attendees aren’t Islington residents.

‘I welcome that in shutting off the street to traffic they’re showing how nice traffic free streets can be.’

Elsewhere, more than 1,500 people signed a petition urging Cambridgeshire County Council to scrap an Experimental Traffic Orders road closure in Mills Road.

And campaigners in Oxford are also at loggerheads with the county and city councils over proposed temporary ‘bus gates’ in the centre of the city.

Councillors plan to install two bus gates in central Oxford in September which will operate from 7.30am to 6.30pm seven days a week.

How £250million fund was launched as part of ‘new era’ for cycling and walking in Britain 

A £250 million emergency active travel fund was launched in May as part of Transport Secretary Grant Shappss ‘new era’ for cycling and walking.

The cash, revealed at a coronavirus briefing on May 9, was billed by the Government as the ‘largest ever boost for cyclists and pedestrians’.

Ministers said it would bring in emergency bike lanes and streets, while trials of rental e-scooters would be brought forward to increase green transport options.

The money has also gone towards pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle and bus-only corridors.

The plans aim to encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport when they need to travel, to help people observe social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Future proposals include Greater Manchester creating 150 miles of protected cycle track, while Transport for London is planning a ‘bike Tube’ network above Underground lines.

The fund is the first stage of a £2billion Government investment, as part of a £5billion fund for cycling and buses announced in February.

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