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Southwark Council opposes new cycle superhighway on grounds of increased pollution

Joe Robinson
14 Nov 2017

Southwark Council claims proposed cycle superhighway will increase poor air quality

Southwark Councillors are opposing plans to extend the cycle superhighway into the South East of London, claiming that it will increase air pollution.

In a letter from Councillors Mark Williams and Ian Wingfield, it is claimed that the proposed route along the A200 from Tower Bridge to Greenwich would increase traffic therefore decreasing air quality.

Due to the changes to travel patterns that will incur, the councillors claim that parts of the route, particularly Southwark Park Road will be subject to 'an additional 200-300 vehicles per hour at peak which will fundamentally alter the look and feel, and air quality, of a heavily populated residential street'.

The letter goes on to criticise Transport for London in its failing to consider a more 'holistic' view concluding that they would be unable to 'accept the impact on the local highway network – which goes against our policies, and in particular the increased journey time for buses, increased congestion leading to increased air pollution, and the impact on residential streets'.

The councillors, although surely aware that bicycles are emissions free, are blaming bicycles for air pollution rather than the vehicles sat in traffic jams. This overlooks the fact that getting more people out of cars and on to bikes will in fact reduce air pollution.

A recent survey by Sustrans shows that almost 80% of people want to see more segregated cycle lanes in British cities, something that would make cycling more accessible to a wider range of people.

The initial proposals from TfL, which are due to be consulted on in September next year, formed part of an effort to address the lack of cycling infrastructure in the south east of the capital.

Between 2013 and 2016, the A200 saw 93 recorded collisions involving cyclists. These collisions were part of the 3,500 daily trips made along the busy route.

TfL also recently announced plans to introduce a new cycle-specific river crossing east of Tower Bridge in an effort to better connect the city suburbs for cyclists.

However, it looks as if these plans will be put on ice if TfL are unable to get the backing of Southwark Council.

The councillors finished their letter asking TfL to work on a joint effort to improve transport in the South East London area, also asking for the government body to address the use of private vehicle use in the borough.

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