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“A definite vote-losing policy”: Cyclists blast Conservatives’ promise to scrap ULEZ, low traffic neighbourhoods and 20mph speed limits in latest press release

“We will empower drivers and local residents to challenge aggressive and punitive traffic-inducing measures, like low traffic neighbourhoods that were imposed without local consent,” the Prime Minister said in a press release

“Desperation”, “last-minute scrapping for votes”, and “a definite vote-losing policy” — these are some vignettes in which cyclists and active travel campaigners have described the Conservative party’s latest press release, in which it promises to scrap what it calls “traffic-inducing measures” such as ULEZ, low traffic neighbourhoods and 20mph speed limits upon winning the upcoming election.

The news comes courtesy of Forbes’ transport correspondent Carlton Reid who reported that the Conservative press office issued this “bizarre” release titled “Bold action to back drivers” of reversing the policies, many of which were introduced by themselves.

The release claims that the Tories would introduce a Backing Drivers Bill in the first King’s Speech after the election of a new government with proposals to scrap these measures.

The news comes just a week after a political pandemonium regarding the ‘dangerous cycling’ bill, which was first passed by ministers in the House of Commons, but was then shelved in less than a week following the announcement of a general election on 4 July by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — the prorogation of the Parliament meaning that there won’t be enough time for the bill to pass through the Lords’ chamber, before receiving a cross-party backing of being passed once the new government is elected in.

> "Dangerous cycling" law will be passed following election, Labour and Conservatives confirm

In this latest press release, Sunak is quoted to be saying that Tories represent the party “on the side of the drivers”, reiterating what he has already stated several times in the past year and even in the run-up to Tory party’s election for Boris Johnson’s successor, which he eventually lost to Liz Truss.

He added: “We will empower drivers and local residents to challenge aggressive and punitive traffic-inducing measures, like low traffic neighbourhoods that were imposed without local consent.”

The release also states that the proposed bill would “reverse Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London, stop pay-per-mile road taxes and empower local residents to rule out blanket LTNs and 20mph zones.”

However, in Forbes’ article, Reid points out that a lot of the LTNs were in fact enabled by the Tory government during the pandemic, while ULEZ was started in London by then Mayor Boris Johnson. Reid also pointed out that the Labour party has no plans for pay-per-mile road taxes.

“Sadiq Khan’s unpopular ULEZ expansion charges thousands of people living around London... and can now no longer afford to get to hospital appointments or where they work or study,” stated the press release, claiming that a new Conservative government would reverse it.

Low traffic neighbourhoods and 20mph zones could be challenged more easily, the release said, adding that “any new schemes [would be] subject to a local referendum.

Sunak said the choice for voters was “between Labour who have launched a war on drivers in London and Wales, and our clear plan to give drivers the freedom they need to build a secure future for themselves and their children.”

> Rishi Sunak’s ‘Plan for Motorists’ will “rob people of choice” and force them to drive, say cycling and walking campaigners

Cyclists have launched a scathing critique of this latest information, with Twitter user and active travel advocate Bob From Accounts pointing out that similar promises didn’t work out too well for Susan Hall, the Conservative Member of the London Assembly who recently lost out to Sadiq Khan in the London mayor elections.

Another cyclist and campaigner Carla Francome wrote: “That’ll save them then. Honestly, who are these people getting their advice from…”

A Twitter user also wondered whether this means that the Tories are “vowing to scrap their own plans if elected”, adding the accusations of flip-flopping on their agenda.

> “Next you’ll be asking if drink driving laws are fair”: UK Government asks motorists “caught out” by cycle lanes if current traffic fines are “fair to drivers”, leaving cyclists baffled

In the past, the Prime Minister and the Tory government have been accused by the charity CyclingUK of seeking to exploit divisions over LTN when a review into the traffic-calming measures was announced.

A joint group of cycling and walking campaigners, including CyclingUK, British Cycling and Sustrans, said last September that the government’s ‘Plan for Motorists’ will “rob people of choice” and force them to drive, destroying any hopes of a cycle-friendly future.

In March, it was reported that the government even tried to bury its own report on the enquiry into LTNs because it concluded that they are effective in reducing traffic and generally popular among residents.

When the report was eventually made available to the public a couple of days later, London’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Will Norman also joined in attacking the government for continuing with its “load of angry rhetoric against LTNs, 20mph & even bus lane cameras”, despite its own research proving the benefits.

Just a few days ago, the think tank Demos, as part of a report exploring the implementation of LTNs across the UK in recent years and the “explosion” of conspiracy theories – particularly surrounding 15-minute cities – that accompanied this policy, recommended that politicians should be punished for spreading and amplifying disinformation about active travel schemes.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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30 comments

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biking59boomer | 1 week ago
0 likes

Well, they won't be doing that now. No more Tory love bombing of motorists.

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brooksby | 1 month ago
5 likes

Vehicle damage claims in Wales fall 20% since speed limit cut to 20mph, says insurer

https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/jun/09/vehicle-damage-...

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
2 likes

I wonder if driver / vehicle insurance premiums will be lower in Wales as a result.

I suspect they won't be and they'll continue to complain and whinge about 20mph whether premiums reduce or not.

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eburtthebike | 1 month ago
4 likes

“traffic-inducing measures”

If your initial premise is so completely, utterly, insanely wrong, then nothing good will come of whatever you have planned.

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TitanyerTummy | 1 month ago
1 like

I think that the conservative policy on LTNs and 20 mph speed limits is good for us and will play into our hands.

It is fairly clear that the conservative party are in for a drubbing at the coming general election. Once they have been defeated it will be open to us cyclists to use this rejection to rebut other future politicians who might be tempted to resurrect these policies.

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Steve K replied to TitanyerTummy | 1 month ago
0 likes
TitanyerTummy wrote:

I think that the conservative policy on LTNs and 20 mph speed limits is good for us and will play into our hands.

It is fairly clear that the conservative party are in for a drubbing at the coming general election. Once they have been defeated it will be open to us cyclists to use this rejection to rebut other future politicians who might be tempted to resurrect these policies.

I've seen similar comments about their pro-fossil fuel policies.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to TitanyerTummy | 1 month ago
1 like
TitanyerTummy wrote:

I think that the conservative policy on LTNs and 20 mph speed limits is good for us and will play into our hands.

It is fairly clear that the conservative party are in for a drubbing at the coming general election. Once they have been defeated it will be open to us cyclists to use this rejection to rebut other future politicians who might be tempted to resurrect these policies.

I hope so.  The blues got a drubbing in London thinking that it was ULEZ wot woz going to win it and they're still banging that drum in the national elections.  Maybe they really are that stupid.

As an aside, I'm not voting blue or red at the upcoming election and have been hoping for an alternative so I won't have to spoil my ballot paper - and a saviour has arrived :-

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/controversial-columnist-among-parliamentary-candidates-29313814?int_source=nba

no

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wtjs replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 1 month ago
2 likes

I see that Liddle (I'm assuming he's one of these 'I'd like to kill all cyclists' nutters, but I can't be sure as I refuse to read editorials/ columnists in the various hyper-junk rags) bears a remarkable resemblance to the nutter who inhabited Downing Street just before the other other nutter.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
2 likes

You assume correctly :-

"'Controversial' columnist among Parliamentary candidates hoping to be elected in Teesside constituency

Journalist Rod Liddle said many would-be voters were 'disenfranchised' by current political offerings"

I won't post more - there are some people of a delicate nature here who may be harmed.

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lesterama | 1 month ago
6 likes

Two roads I grew up on were blocked off almost 50 years ago to stop rat-running. I suppose the current Tories want to undo those changes.

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mdavidford | 1 month ago
3 likes
road.cc wrote:

these are some vignettes

Is someone making a bid for Pseuds Corner?

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HoarseMann | 1 month ago
4 likes

Referendums on LTN's? Did they learn nothing from the last referendum?

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ubercurmudgeon replied to HoarseMann | 1 month ago
8 likes

That's the trouble, they've learnt a lot. For example, Sunak's robotic repetition of "£2000 tax under Labour" in the TV debate with Starmer was the ubiquitous £350m lie from 2016 all over again. Doesn't matter if it is bogus, or that voting for the alternative will cost even more, it set the agenda, and it will have won some votes. And this "war on motorists" bollocks will too. Specifically, the votes of people so thick-skulled that only the simplest of concepts can penetrate: tax bad, immigrants bad, EU bad, cyclists bad, cars good, flags good.

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Cyclo1964 replied to ubercurmudgeon | 1 month ago
4 likes

If you keep repeating lie often enough it becomes the truth.

Joseph Goebells 

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Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
17 likes
The remaining rats on the sinking ship wrote:

“[we would] reverse Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London, stop pay-per-mile road taxes and empower local residents to rule out blanket LTNs and 20mph zones.”

The taxes that have never existed except in the peculiar mind of Susan Hall and which Khan has explicitly promised will not be introduced. Definitely the best use of parliamentary time, stopping things that don't exist. Next up, we will also be introducing a bill preventing the Loch Ness monster from claiming asylum status in England.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
8 likes

You'll be saying there was never a bacon tax next, or that plans for "15 bins-in-cities" (stopping people moving freely by requiring vast amounts of storage space for different waste streams) were mere scaremongering.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:
The remaining rats on the sinking ship wrote:

“[we would] reverse Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London, stop pay-per-mile road taxes and empower local residents to rule out blanket LTNs and 20mph zones.”

The taxes that have never existed except in the peculiar mind of Susan Hall and which Khan has explicitly promised will not be introduced. Definitely the best use of parliamentary time, stopping things that don't exist. Next up, we will also be introducing a bill preventing the Loch Ness monster from claiming asylum status in England.

They've also gone for a slightly different tack in this election, saying Labour will tax things that are, erm, already taxed.

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brooksby replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
1 like
Steve K wrote:
Rendel Harris wrote:
The remaining rats on the sinking ship wrote:

“[we would] reverse Labour’s unfair ULEZ expansion in London, stop pay-per-mile road taxes and empower local residents to rule out blanket LTNs and 20mph zones.”

The taxes that have never existed except in the peculiar mind of Susan Hall and which Khan has explicitly promised will not be introduced. Definitely the best use of parliamentary time, stopping things that don't exist. Next up, we will also be introducing a bill preventing the Loch Ness monster from claiming asylum status in England.

They've also gone for a slightly different tack in this election, saying Labour will tax things that are, erm, already taxed.

There was a chat on HIGNFY about the "Labour will increase tax by £2,000" claim from last week's debates.  Apparently the Tories' commitments would require a £3,000 increase, and if you look at tax increases since 2010 then you're looking at a £13K increase.

But the £2K claim is like the Brexit battle bus £350M figure - it's to get out there and sticking in people's minds before anyone properly fact checks it.

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Cyclo1964 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
4 likes

Looking at the state of English rivers and lakes it wouldn't come 

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wtjs | 1 month ago
7 likes

I was relatively pleased with the crowning of Sunak, after his 2 dreadful predecessors, but this despicable pandering to these lowest-of-the-low DM reading nutters is turning me actively against him

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hawkinspeter replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
9 likes
wtjs wrote:

I was relatively pleased with the crowning of Sunak, after his 2 dreadful predecessors, but this despicable pandering to these lowest-of-the-low DM reading nutters is turning me actively against him

Don't forget Sunak's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme that helped spread COVID and almost certainly claimed a lot of lives: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/dec/10/rishi-sunak-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-backfired-2020-chancellor

There was also his plan to divert money away from deprived areas to funnel it to richer areas: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-62436193

He is as self-serving as Johnson and Truss - don't trust a word that he says.

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ktache replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
7 likes

Scoff to cough...

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 1 month ago
0 likes

He is as self-serving as Johnson and Truss - don't trust a word that he says

Good point- I wouldn't be surprised at him taking his money and his wife off to the USA if, as we hope, the Tories lose. I can't bring myself to take that for granted- all those people crazed enough to vote 'landslide' for the notorious arch-liar are still around!

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eburtthebike replied to wtjs | 1 month ago
5 likes

Just heard on the radio, someone describing Sunak as a better economist than Liz Truss and more honest than Boris.  Difficult to think of higher praise.

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Pub bike | 1 month ago
12 likes

I've put a bike in the hall ready for when they come to the door canvassing.  "Can we rely on your support this year?" [points at bicycle]

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ubercurmudgeon replied to Pub bike | 1 month ago
1 like

Unless you live in a key marginal constituency, don't bother preparing for door-to-door canvassing. Our votes aren't all equal, far from it. I've never once had such a visit, although that may also have something to do with there being no car parked outside my house.

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Safety | 1 month ago
9 likes

Presumably this policy was thought up by the same advisors who told Rishi to return early from Normandy.
If this bunch get back into power hopefully the world will have moved on by then and taken the UK with it.

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stonojnr replied to Safety | 1 month ago
2 likes

well yes, its stupid politics its not a national topic thats top of any voters list of importance, no-one cares about ULEZ outside of London even if theyre pro car, and LTNs/20mph zones already are subject to local consultation, it was only the Covid ones where the consultation step was just delayed to post implementation, though most of those have already reverted back to pre covid setups.

as for road pricing, does that mean the M6 & the Dartford toll finally goes ?

so its not a bill that will make any difference anyway.

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AidanR replied to stonojnr | 1 month ago
1 like

A referendum is very different from consultation. For a start, it's much more expensive, which is presumably the point. It's one of those policies that sounds reasonable on the surface, but in reality it's about blocking any change by making it prohibitively difficult.

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stonojnr replied to AidanR | 1 month ago
1 like

it is, but the costs will have to be borne by the government, by making it law to have one, so its really dumb politics.

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