Lambeth Council's claims £200,000 for 'temporary' road closures which could remain for three years

Lambeth Council in south London is planning to keep ‘temporary’ controversial road closures in place for three years, it has been reported. 

The authority is said to have claimed nearly £200,000 of Government cash to block off five streets as part of its ‘Oval Triangle low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) temporary scheme’. 

But it has also budgeted to maintain bollards and planters on the closed streets for three years, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The newspaper revealed that the council states 10 times on its website that the closures are ‘temporary’. But a spokesman then confirmed the cost of the measures included ‘up to three years of maintenance’. 

It comes amid ongoing uproar over the installation of little-used cycle lanes which are causing chaos in towns and cities across the country. 

Lambeth Council in south London is planning to keep 'temporary' controversial road closures in place for three years, it has been reported (file photo)

Lambeth Council in south London is planning to keep ‘temporary’ controversial road closures in place for three years, it has been reported (file photo)

The Government money spent by Lambeth Council, which was revealed by a Freedom of Information request, was spent on new signs and road markings, cameras and bollards.

It included nearly £50,000 on installing new signs and road markings and £25,000 went on ‘design and project management’. 

And £90,000 was used to buy automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to spot motorists who break the rules so they can be fined.    

But an enormous £24,420 was spent on 10 wooden ‘planters’ used to close streets. 

And when asked why one planter cost £2,420, a spokesman told the newspaper that the cost included ‘buying them, installing, planting, labour and up to a maximum of three years of maintenance and replanting depending on how long they remain in place.’ 

The authority is said to have claimed nearly £200,000 of Government cash to block off five streets as part of its 'Oval Triangle low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) temporary scheme'. Pictured: File photo

The authority is said to have claimed nearly £200,000 of Government cash to block off five streets as part of its ‘Oval Triangle low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) temporary scheme’. Pictured: File photo

Whilst the council says on its website that the measures are temporary and in response to the ‘current pandemic’ it told the Telegraph that it had been considering the measures before Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a £250million fund in May to promote social distancing.

The money went on schemes such as the widening of pavements. 

A Lambeth Council spokesman told the Telegraph said that the LTN was part of its ’emergency response’ to the ‘significant challenges posed to Lambeth’s transport system by the coronavirus pandemic.’

They added that the ‘temporary’ measures ‘cannot be made permanent without public consultation’  

An academic report revealed on Sunday detailed how if current Government spending on schemes to encourage more people to get on bikes continues for the next ten years, there would be an increase of no more than one per cent in the number of people using a bike.

The report found that for every £4,915 spent in cycle lanes in London, there is likely to be an increase of one ‘commuter cyclist’. 

It has also budgeted to maintain bollards and planters on the closed streets for three years, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Pictured: planters block a street in Lewisham

It has also budgeted to maintain bollards and planters on the closed streets for three years, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Pictured: planters block a street in Lewisham

The cost for inner London boroughs would come to £6,153 for every extra bike user, while the amount for outlying areas would be £4,174, the report in the respected Economics And Human Biology journal said.

The report also analysed the Government’s cycling spending plans announced in May. The Department for Transport said £2 billion will be spent on cycle lanes in the next five years. Of that, £250 million has been released to councils in England to build pop-up cycle lanes, which have been condemned for causing traffic jams.

The study states that if the current Government investment in cycling – £400 million per year – was sustained until 2030, the number of commuter cyclists would increase by between half a per cent and one per cent.

Earlier this month, a cyclist launched a petition to end the controversial cycle lanes in the capital in a bid to improve severe traffic.   

Georges Assi took matters into his own hands by launching the petition, which focused on High Street Kensington in West London.

It comes amid ongoing uproar over the installation of little-used cycle lanes which are causing chaos in towns and cities across the country. Pictured: High Street Kensington's cycle lane

It comes amid ongoing uproar over the installation of little-used cycle lanes which are causing chaos in towns and cities across the country. Pictured: High Street Kensington’s cycle lane 

Earlier this month, a cyclist launched a petition to end the controversial cycle lanes in the capital in a bid to improve severe traffic

Earlier this month, a cyclist launched a petition to end the controversial cycle lanes in the capital in a bid to improve severe traffic 

He said the area near Kensington Palace has become ‘completely clogged’ and is ‘getting worse’ – with motorists and bus passengers stuck in ‘endless traffic’.

Mr Assi wrote in the petition on Change.org: ‘This is not a war on cyclists. I am a cyclist and many of my cyclist friends are against this Scheme too.

‘My children take the bus, we try to avoid short car journeys when possible, and we all aspire to this noble vision of a greener city with less dependency on short private car rides.

‘But this scheme, in its current implementation, is creating mahyem and chaos, and having the very opposite effect. And it’s not going away unless we make it go away, even if things stabilise during Lockdown 2 for obvious reasons.’ 

Some 1,400 miles of new cycle lane have been introduced since the pandemic began, but many have gone unused and brought gridlock to towns and cities where private car use has remained high.

But opposition is growing against emergency active travel schemes featuring pop-up bike lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods.

Some councils have removed or reduced the projects following accusations they were causing congestion.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk