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Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps is forced to act against his own anti-auto policy


Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps is forced to take action against his OWN anti-auto policies after cobblestone barriers have transformed his constituency into a "ghost town".

  • In May, barriers were installed along the sidewalks in Welwyn, Hertfortshire
  • Mr. Shapps turned to the Council to allow measures that are not suitable for Welwyn's layout.
  • Shopkeepers warned that lower visitor numbers could result in businesses being closed
  • It happens that city center barriers appear on the sidewalk

Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps was forced to act against his own anti-auto policy after cobblestone barriers turned his constituency into a "ghost town".

Barriers were created along sidewalks in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, as part of Shapps & # 39; new era & # 39; £ 250m worth of cycling and walking installs announced during a coronavirus briefing on Downing Street in May.

Similar measures have been taken in city centers across the UK and throughout the capital, and in many cases have triggered a backlash against the increase in traffic and pollution.

In Welwyn, more than 1,300 people have now signed a petition calling on the Hertfordshire County Council to use common sense after the measures and the one-way system created another dead main street.

An email from the Shapps Parliament Office on Sunday Telegraph revealed how the Minister of Transport contacted the council to admit that the measures were "not suitable for Welwyn's old layout" weeks later.

Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps was forced to act against his own anti-auto policy after cobblestone barriers turned his constituency into a "ghost town".

The email added that the barriers to social distancing could have been an overzealous measure, given that there are "lower transmission risks" out there.

Shopkeepers in Welwyn have warned that businesses could be forced to close due to a significant drop in visitor numbers, which was found just a few days after the “ugly” barriers and one-day system were installed.

Jane Carr, who launched the petition, said: “The barriers make our rural village look like a crime scene.

& # 39; Grant Shapps shook us on this issue. I think he's between the devil and the deep blue sea, given his constituency and government roles. & # 39;

Florist Wendy Rowley, who has been working on the main street for 30 years, fears that she will have to close her shop due to a reduction in daily customer numbers.

She said: “We used to have 40 to 45 customers a day. Now we get two or three visitors through the door. It's so sad. & # 39;

Pavement barriers are currently in use across London and other cities, and are often rejected by local residents and local politicians.

Barriers along most of the main roads exist in Camden, Highgate, Primrose Hill and Hampstead, and Camden Conservative leader Cllr Oliver Cooper has announced that they will cause more standstill and pollution.

He said: "Some of the changes will result in more standstill, pollution and damage to local businesses without promoting public health, as Camden did not take into account factors that only residents would know."

In Colchester, the recently created "eyesores" have already been dismantled following complaints from companies claiming to have used parking spaces.

Pictured: Similar barriers seen on the sidewalk in Piccadilly, London on June 4th

Pictured: Similar barriers seen on the sidewalk in Piccadilly, London on June 4th

The barriers in the Shapps constituency, which could remain in place until 2023 to reduce congestion before the A1 (M) road works, are so unpopular that guardians dismantled them at night.

A spokesman for the Hertfordshire County Council told the Sunday Telegraph that the Council had received £ 1.25 million from the Emergency Active Travel Fund as part of the coronavirus crisis.

He said traffic restrictions that were introduced nationwide after "extensive talks" with public health experts were under constant review.

The one-way system was installed "to avoid through traffic on the main road, especially when the volume returns to the A1 and work on the intelligent highway project starts seriously later in the year," it was added.

Mr. Shapps was asked to comment.

Another impact of the pandemic is that more people may prefer to go to their destination than to use public transport.

"The problem will be that all of these modes of transportation compete for the same amount of limited space," Sam Schwartz, transit advisor and former New York City traffic commissioner, told Business Insider.

"Even if 50 or 60 percent of a city is completely reopened … we may see 100 percent or more of the traffic."

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