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Tory London mayoral candidate plans to end Sadiq Khan’s “attack on drivers” by switching off red lights

The Conservative hopeful also said he’ll put an end to segregated bike lanes, 20mph speed limits, ULEZ, and closed streets

Dan Korski, one of the candidates for the London mayor elections from the Conservative Party, has vowed to end Sadiq Khan’s “attack on drivers” by unveiling a milieu of radical traffic changes, such as switching off red lights and ending segregated bike lanes, 20mph speed limits, ULEZ and low traffic neighbourhoods.

With motorists and other people criticising Khan’s divisive policies to prioritise dealing with the capital’s deteriorating air quality and climate change, the Tory hopeful has announced a radical shake-up of London’s roads should he be elected in next year’s mayoral elections in May.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Korski said that he would explore switching off red lights between 10pm and 7am. Instead, amber flashing lights managed by sensors would “ease the flow of traffic”, and make sure that drivers are not forced to wait at deserted junctions.

The former No.10 aide also said that he would allow motorists and cyclists to share lanes on routes where bike segregation has caused annoying congestion, as well as scrapping 20mph limits where there's no obvious reason for the restriction.

The mayoral hopeful also wants to dramatically reduce traffic control measures including no right turns and closed streets, where they don't command local support.

> TfL to address safety concerns over drivers ignoring red lights at Bow Roundabout

Korski told The Sun: “Sadiq Khan's transport policies, to London voters, appear irrational. Above all, it's hard to see how they help the environment.

“They're driving motorists around the bend and, most counterintuitively, turning some people against environmentalism. All my changes will be made with community input.”

Korski, along with some other frontrunners from the Conservative party, has already sworn to put an end to Khan’s ULEZ expansion due in August. Another candidate, Paul Scully, said that that he will “turn off all those new cameras” on his first day, if he were to get elected.

> Suella Braverman criticised by cycling campaign group for “avoiding public scrutiny” over speeding offence

Amsterdam’s traffic light experiments

Although Korski’s plan sounds outlandish and stems out of aiding drivers cutting down their journey times as much as possible, the cycling-friendly Netherlands tried switching off red lights — not just to help drivers, but cyclists.

Until 2016, one of the Dutch capital’s busiest intersections at Sarphatistraat-Alexanderplein was controlled by traffic lights, with cyclists, the predominant users in Amsterdam as in a lot of Dutch cities, had longer wait times.

01 Afternoon traffic in Amsterdam (Photo credit- Copenhagenize Design Co)
Afternoon traffic in Amsterdam (Photo credit- Copenhagenize Design Co)

However in that case, the test was part of a larger mobility strategy across the city to make more room for cyclists and pedestrians, meaning limiting access and space for private vehicles. The new setup forced people to engage with their surroundings: Instead of relying on traffic lights, they now relied on their own abilities and the cues of others.

Over the period of a year, it was seen that cyclists had become more aware of their surroundings and of other road users. In less than two weeks, the evolution was already observed on Alexanderplein.

> Cyclists in Paris allowed to ignore red traffic lights

Delay times were reduced and safety remained unaffected, showing that regulation can lead to responsible and alert road users. It was so successful that the pilot was extended and a few months later the lights were completely removed, and even led to the junction’s redesign.

However, in February this year, Amsterdam cyclists were greeted with traffic signs asking them to not jump red lights by showing a counter of how many cyclists waited at the red light and nudging them to do the same.

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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105 comments

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matthewn5 | 6 months ago
7 likes

Khan's policies aren't 'divisive', they're supportive of the majority of Londoners who do not have access to a car but who suffer the consequences of those Londoners who insist on driving everywhere.

Besides, most of his policies are simply implementing policy decided by the Tories at national level. Sheesh.

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Rendel Harris replied to matthewn5 | 6 months ago
7 likes

matthewn5 wrote:

Khan's policies aren't 'divisive', they're supportive of the majority of Londoners who do not have access to a car but who suffer the consequences of those Londoners who insist on driving everywhere.

Besides, most of his policies are simply implementing policy decided by the Tories at national level. Sheesh.

It's a regular source of amusement to hear the right frothing about how divisive and hated Mr Khan is and then ask them if that's the case why has he been elected Mayor of London twice and is on course to win a third term in 2024.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
3 likes

Or, indeed, if they've read the Conservatives 2019 manifesto.

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ShutTheFrontDawes replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

matthewn5 wrote:

Khan's policies aren't 'divisive', they're supportive of the majority of Londoners who do not have access to a car but who suffer the consequences of those Londoners who insist on driving everywhere.

Besides, most of his policies are simply implementing policy decided by the Tories at national level. Sheesh.

It's a regular source of amusement to hear the right frothing about how divisive and hated Mr Khan is and then ask them if that's the case why has he been elected Mayor of London twice and is on course to win a third term in 2024.

One could say the same about Brexit. If it's so awful, how come the majority voted for it?

Just because Mr Khan is the preferred option does not necessarily mean he's a good option.

The conservatives set the bar low in 2016 and even lower in 2021.

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brooksby replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 6 months ago
12 likes

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote:

One could say the same about Brexit. If it's so awful, how come the majority voted for it?

Ooo - ooo - I know, sir!: was it because they were lied to?

(edit: and didn't really understand the question)

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OldRidgeback replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 6 months ago
11 likes

I think it's fair to say that Brexit is turning out to be the complete disaster that was derided as project fear. People voted for it because they were lied to, pure and simple. And know it's becoming apparent to most people that it's gone wrong. Even Nigel Farage says it's been a disaster.

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brooksby replied to OldRidgeback | 6 months ago
7 likes

OldRidgeback wrote:

I think it's fair to say that Brexit is turning out to be the complete disaster that was derided as project fear. People voted for it because they were lied to, pure and simple. And know it's becoming apparent to most people that it's gone wrong. Even Nigel Farage says it's been a disaster.

Except Farage is following the line of "Brexit has been a disaster.  But it's only been a disaster because it hasn't been done properly."  He's still not accepting that the concept of Brexit has been a complete train-wreck.

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Steve K replied to brooksby | 6 months ago
6 likes

brooksby wrote:

OldRidgeback wrote:

I think it's fair to say that Brexit is turning out to be the complete disaster that was derided as project fear. People voted for it because they were lied to, pure and simple. And know it's becoming apparent to most people that it's gone wrong. Even Nigel Farage says it's been a disaster.

Except Farage is following the line of "Brexit has been a disaster.  But it's only been a disaster because it hasn't been done properly."  He's still not accepting that the concept of Brexit has been a complete train-wreck.

People voted for Brexit because they were promised a whole lot of mutually exclusive things.  Farage says Brexit hasn't been done properly because (despite three PMs having a go - I'm not including Truss) the government hasn't been able to deliver mutually exclusive things.

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chrisonatrike replied to Steve K | 6 months ago
1 like

I certainly don't want to add to the volumes of analysis on why people, or certain groups, voted for Brexit.

I do note that concerns about "can't get the staff" / "wages are too low", "too many / not enough houses" and "immigration" were mentioned.  People still seem to have very strong views on the same issues.  So much so that both Westminster parties likely to be running the show next time are making various aspects of this a key part of their chat.

I'm not sure it was just the promises that were at fault.

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chrisonatrike replied to chrisonatrike | 6 months ago
1 like

Just seen that thankfully we have totally got control of our borders:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-65669832

Perhaps it's a "nice problem to have" - however bad some aspects of the UK may seem LOTS of other people think it's a better bet than where they are.  Or maybe our advertising is just world-beating?

I'm not saying that these concerns are necessarily spurious BTW or unjustified / undesirable.  It's just that many people seem to want things which it's hard to see will work in combination.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonatrike | 6 months ago
3 likes

chrisonatrike wrote:

Just seen that thankfully we have totally got control of our borders:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-65669832

Perhaps it's a "nice problem to have" - however bad some aspects of the UK may seem LOTS of other people think it's a better bet than where they are.  Or maybe our advertising is just world-beating?

I'm not saying that these concerns are necessarily spurious BTW or unjustified / undesirable.  It's just that many people seem to want things which it's hard to see will work in combination.

I don't see why immigration is such an issue. Certainly our agricultural industries rely on seasonal staff and they're most often poorly paid immigrants. It'd be nice to have them properly compensated which would allow native workers to help with the fruit picking etc. but then we're going to see an increase in food prices. Maybe that's inevitable as we have relatively cheap food compared to a lot of places, but that's going to hit some people really hard. I still think that ultimately some kind of universal basic income is required to deal with the cost of living properly, but that always seems unpopular despite some encouraging trials around the world (which are often cut short before their benefits can be properly realised).

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wycombewheeler replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

Maybe that's inevitable as we have relatively cheap food compared to a lot of places, but that's going to hit some people really hard. I still think that ultimately some kind of universal basic income is required to deal with the cost of living properly, but that always seems unpopular despite some encouraging trials around the world (which are often cut short before their benefits can be properly realised).

all these other costs hit hard because we are spending so much on housing costs, either in inflated rent or high property prices. Meanwhile the property owners* keep gaining wealth at the expense of everyone else.

*owners of multiple properties acting as landlords, not people who own their own homes. Homeowners gain no benefit from increasing house prices.

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hawkinspeter replied to wycombewheeler | 6 months ago
2 likes

wycombewheeler wrote:

all these other costs hit hard because we are spending so much on housing costs, either in inflated rent or high property prices. Meanwhile the property owners* keep gaining wealth at the expense of everyone else.

*owners of multiple properties acting as landlords, not people who own their own homes. Homeowners gain no benefit from increasing house prices.

Housing costs are not an easy thing to fix.

Obviously, we can blame Thatcher for a large part of it: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/26/right-to-buy-margaret-thatcher-david-cameron-housing-crisis

The problem is that as the prices rise, it becomes more attractive as a way of earning profit from capital and so a huge amount of capital is dumped into the housing market which only serves to further increase prices and push home ownership out of most people's reach. Combine that with a lot of demand (it's not like people have much of a choice between living somewhere or on the streets) and it's not clear that prices will ever lower significantly. Even worse is that schemes to help people buy houses also serves to keep the prices propped up and puts more money into the hands of developers and landlords (or parasites as I like to think of them).

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Rich_cb replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
2 likes

The main problem people have with immigration is that it can occur much faster than the necessary increases in public services.

When you have net migration running at half a million a year it takes multiple decades for school, NHS and housing capacity to catch up.

Invariably this leads to increased prices in terms of housing and decreased quality in terms of public services.

We're currently at the start of a demographic bulge entering secondary school, this bulge was secondary to Blair's immigration policies. Despite having had over a decade to prepare there will still be far more pressure on secondary school places for the next decade or so.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
1 like

Rich_cb wrote:

The main problem people have with immigration is that it can occur much faster than the necessary increases in public services. When you have net migration running at half a million a year it takes multiple decades for school, NHS and housing capacity to catch up. Invariably this leads to increased prices in terms of housing and decreased quality in terms of public services. We're currently at the start of a demographic bulge entering secondary school, this bulge was secondary to Blair's immigration policies. Despite having had over a decade to prepare there will still be far more pressure on secondary school places for the next decade or so.

To my mind, that's more of an issue with proper scaling of public services as immigrants are likely to be paying taxes etc. and thus adding to the economy. I did a brief search on figures and found out that we recently had more deaths than births (by a small margin) for the first time in ages - possibly a Covid influence but also likely that young people are less likely to feel financially stable enough for planned pregnancies.

But yes, I can see how people feel that public services are rapidly declining and thus don't want any further pressure on the system.

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chrisonatrike replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
0 likes

Well perhaps those of us past, say, forty could take it upon ourselves to quit living soonest?  That would leave more space (houses, jobs, doctor's appointments) for younger people.  It would massively ease the burden on health and social services - especially if you didn't lower the pension age!

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Rich_cb replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
2 likes

It's almost impossible to scale public services that fast though.

It takes 15 years minimum to train an NHS consultant.

If a large increase in immigration suddenly drives a similarly large increase in demand for maternity services (as it did about 15 years ago) how can you respond quickly?

Increasing hospital capacity and training staff takes a long time.

I'm not sure what the figure is now but a few years ago I read that you had to earn >35k per year to be a net contributor to the Exchequer so for anyone earning less than about 40k the extra pressure on public services and housing probably doesn't justify the small net increase in tax revenue.

Birth rates are plummeting globally, within a generation the global population will start to fall and the current issue of 'too much' immigration will likely reverse.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
7 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

It's almost impossible to scale public services that fast though. It takes 15 years minimum to train an NHS consultant. 

You do know that large numbers of NHS consultants are immigrants who trained elsewhere, right?

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
1 like

We've been running worldwide recruitment campaigns for decades (which in itself has been ethically dubious IMO). We're still woefully short of consultants in most specialities.

Public services cannot scale up their capacity anywhere near fast enough to deal with the increased demand caused by net migration in the 100s of thousands.

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Dnnnnnn replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
2 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

Public services cannot scale up their capacity anywhere near fast enough to deal with the increased demand caused by net migration in the 100s of thousands.

Immigration does bring increased demand - but it also brings increased supply of skills and labour. It's a solution as well as a problem.
It's a complex, multi-faceted issue - but you could argue the bottom line is that this latest net migration represents about 1% population increase in a year. And while they won't be spread evenly acoss places or in their demand for services, it doesn't seem like it should be an impossible challenge in most cases.
There are lots of other factors which are probably more important in the quality of many public services too: certainly under-investment in some, existing workers leaving (early retirement, ill health, poor pay/conditions, etc.) or just not joining. Housing ("the first of the social services", according to Churchill) is a huge issue too - but you can't accuse successive governments of doing their best to improve that situation. Quite the reverse.
And there's the overarching issue of the UK's unusually poor record of productivity growth. Tackling that would ease a lot of chronic problems - but again, there's not much effort in that direction.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
3 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

I'm not sure what the figure is now but a few years ago I read that you had to earn >35k per year to be a net contributor to the Exchequer

The Daily Mail et al love those figures, citing them as evidence of "something for nothing" Britain. In fact they are fairly meaningless as they ignore how much the work of people on low wages contributes to the incomes of those on very high wages who pay more tax.

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
0 likes

I'm guessing you have some figures to back that up?

It's obviously not the case for all low paid workers though.

Especially when you consider that the government have been pretty consistently spending more than they raise in tax for decades (a handful of years of surplus since the 1970s IIRC).

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
6 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

I'm guessing you have some figures to back that up?

Sealion! No, just simple common sense. Say you own a business which employs 1000 people earning £12,000 a year, so none of them pays tax. Now let's say your business makes you a profit of £10 million a year so you pay roughly £4.7 million in tax. Are you the only person of the 1001 who's paying your way? The oft-touted (by the rich) concept that the rich subsidise the workers and the workers don't pay their own way is a pernicious one in that it completely ignores the extent to which the workers subsidise the rich by providing them with the profits derived from their work.

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mark1a replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Rich_cb wrote:

I'm guessing you have some figures to back that up?

Sealion! No, just simple common sense. Say you own a business which employs 1000 people earning £12,000 a year, so none of them pays tax. Now let's say your business makes you a profit of £10 million a year so you pay roughly £4.7 million in tax. Are you the only person of the 1001 who's paying your way? The oft-touted (by the rich) concept that the rich subsidise the workers and the workers don't pay their own way is a pernicious one in that it completely ignores the extent to which the workers subsidise the rich by providing them with the profits derived from their work.

In that specific hypothetical example, the 1000 people on £12k pa will be in receipt of universal credit, council tax support, and other top up benefits from the government which will mostly likely be more than £4700 each, wiping out the £4.7m to the exchequer paid by the business owner. The goverment/tax payers are effectively subsidising the business.

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Rendel Harris replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
1 like

mark1a wrote:

Rendel Harris wrote:

Rich_cb wrote:

I'm guessing you have some figures to back that up?

Sealion! No, just simple common sense. Say you own a business which employs 1000 people earning £12,000 a year, so none of them pays tax. Now let's say your business makes you a profit of £10 million a year so you pay roughly £4.7 million in tax. Are you the only person of the 1001 who's paying your way? The oft-touted (by the rich) concept that the rich subsidise the workers and the workers don't pay their own way is a pernicious one in that it completely ignores the extent to which the workers subsidise the rich by providing them with the profits derived from their work.

In that specific hypothetical example, the 1000 people on £12k pa will be in receipt of universal credit, council tax support, and other top up benefits from the government which will mostly likely be more than £4700 each, wiping out the £4.7m to the exchequer paid by the business owner. The goverment/tax payers are effectively subsidising the business.

Okay, I'll change the example to they all earn £30,000 a year, so they will be paying about £6000 in tax and national insurance as well as the contribution they are making to their employer's profits and receiving no benefits, but according to Rich's figures they would still be a net loss to the Exchequer because the profits they make for their employer on which their employer pays tax are disregarded.

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
0 likes

'Benefit' received from the government is not just cash although it is possible to recieve cash benefits on an income far above £30k.

The NHS, bin collections, schools etc all have a cash value too.

It's possible to fudge a hypothetical situation together, where every employee earns exactly the right amount to balance out every penny in benefit they receive from the government and the company is hugely profitable, to make your assertion work.

The question remains; is this commonplace?

It's not sealioning to ask you to back up your hypothetical scenario with some real world figures.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
1 like

Rich_cb wrote:

It's not sealioning to ask you to back up your hypothetical scenario with some real world figures.

Honestly old chap, when your "real world figures" amount to:

Quote:

I'm not sure what the figure is now but a few years ago I read that you had to earn >35k per year to be a net contributor to the Exchequer

I'm not sure you're in a position to demand authoritative fully audited figures from others. In any case, you have ignored my point, which is that there is more to contributing to the Exchequer than simply the tax one pays when one's work makes profits for someone else who pays tax on said profits.

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
1 like

So that's a no.

You've just made something up to fit your own argument.

No change there then.

What happens if the organisation you work for doesn't make much/any profit? How does that fit your theory?

If you wanted more detail Rendel you just had to ask, I won't even accuse you of sealioning:
https://www.civitas.org.uk/content/files/State-dependency-FINAL.pdf.

Looks like the figure is now >£42k.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
6 likes

Ah, the well known unbiased thinktank Civitas, postal address Tufton Street along with so many other totally unbiased organisations.

You are, I assume deliberately, completely ignoring my point. I don't dispute that many/most people do not contribute an equivalent amount in tax to the Exchequer as they receive in overall benefit from the government, but that does not take account of the profits and taxes generated by their work and so to class them as effectively a drag on the economy and to imply that only those on higher incomes are actually paying their own way is both unfair and inaccurate. I thought this sort of thinking had gone out with the Victorian era where the millowners paid a pittance, raked in enormous profits and then complained about the costs of poor relief for the "feckless" working classes who made them their profits. Obviously in Tufton Street that sort of thinking is alive and well.

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
2 likes

I've hardly ignored your point Rendel.

I said that hypothetically it could work.

The counter point, which you have ignored, is that your imagined scenario doesn't apply to all lower paid workers and you seem incapable of giving even an estimate as to how many workers it does apply to.

Attacking the source rather than the data as well. Poor show.

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