Pro-slow campaigners who have been defending controversial new 20mph speed limits enforced in London and Wales last week actually want ‘car free cities’ and an end to private vehicle ownership, plans suggest.
Last week, Mark Drakeford’s Welsh Labour government imposed a blanket 20mph across all built up residential areas – sparking outrage from residents who say their journeys now take twice as long and use twice as much fuel.
This is on top of rising frustrations with costly and cumbersome Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and the fact that 62 miles of cycle lanes were installed in the capital during the pandemic has led some to believe there is a ‘war on motorists.’
Currently 28million drivers live under local authorities where 20mph speed limits are in place or set to come in to the dismay of the Alliance of British Drivers who claim the ultimate goal of such policies are to ‘make all driver’s pariahs.’
Defenders of controversial schemes like the ones rolled out in London and Wales include the climate change campaign group Possible – who earlier this year published a radical report in conjunction with think tank Fare City arguing for ‘car-free cities.’
On Good Morning Britain earlier this week, Possible spokesperson Hirra Khan Adeogun said that the new 20mph policy would be ‘good for drivers’ arguing that it would save them costs on fuel and contribute towards ‘more efficient cities.’
Ms Adeogun is the co-director of Possible’s ‘car-free cities’ project, which the group describes as a ‘landmark programme to kickstart the process of making private cars obsolete in our cities, accelerating the move to a zero carbon Britain.’
The study includes comments from Green Party spokesman Sian Berry who argues that in planning future cities, authorities should make ‘as little space as possible for cars.’
Other experts cited in the report include University of Leeds academic Paul Chatterton who argues that Britain’s Highways Network should be shrunk by 5 per cent each year in order to move towards car-free ways of living.
The report argued that future policy should look to ‘reduce highway space for private vehicles and actively reclaim this space for alternative uses.’
It argued: ‘Highway space should be reallocated for walking, wheeling and cycling, bus lanes and the public realm for people to enjoy – more space for an improved place.
‘It should also accommodate parking for sustainable modes, for example private cycle storage, shared e-cycle, and e-scooter bays. Parklets and other reuses should also be prioritised.’