Vans face ban from city centres under Boris Johnson’s plan to get Britain in the saddle

Vans could be banned from city centres under government plans to create more road space for cyclists as part of Boris Johnson‘s £2billion anti-obesity drive.

A government report aimed at ‘unleashing our nation of cyclists’ proposes reducing ‘unnecessary motorised freight’ like lorries and vans in UK cities and towns.

Goods would be sent to out-of-town depots before ‘a far smaller number of vehicles’ including e-cargo bikes and electric vans deliver the freight to their final destination.

Compulsory ‘freight consolidation schemes’, as the Department for Transport describes them, will be piloted in ‘one or two small historic city centres with narrow and crowded streets’, the Gear Change cycling report states.  

It also states that these pilots could ‘complement work already underway’ by cities and towns to develop Clean Air Zones to improve air quality. 

The government has even proposed giving cyclists the right to ride in the wrong direction on one-way streets, arguing that ‘contraflow cycling’ had worked in some areas and should be the ‘default on all quieter one-way’. 

Writing in the report, the PM said: ‘Vast numbers of car journeys are very short and could easily be travelled by bicycle. 

Vans could be banned from city centres under government plans to create more road space for cyclists as part of Boris Johnson's £2billion anti-obesity drive. The government proposes reducing 'unnecessary motorised freight' like HGVs and delivery vans in UK cities (pictured, the PM riding a bicycle during a visit to the Canal Side Heritage Centre in Beeston yesterday)

Vans could be banned from city centres under government plans to create more road space for cyclists as part of Boris Johnson's £2billion anti-obesity drive. The government proposes reducing 'unnecessary motorised freight' like HGVs and delivery vans in UK cities (pictured, the PM riding a bicycle during a visit to the Canal Side Heritage Centre in Beeston yesterday)

Vans could be banned from city centres under government plans to create more road space for cyclists as part of Boris Johnson’s £2billion anti-obesity drive. The government proposes reducing ‘unnecessary motorised freight’ like HGVs and delivery vans in UK cities (pictured, the PM riding a bicycle during a visit to the Canal Side Heritage Centre in Beeston yesterday)

Cyclists ride through Westminster yesterday, after the government announced a new plan on walking and cycling projects following the coronavirus outbreak

Cyclists ride through Westminster yesterday, after the government announced a new plan on walking and cycling projects following the coronavirus outbreak

Cyclists ride through Westminster yesterday, after the government announced a new plan on walking and cycling projects following the coronavirus outbreak

Boris Johnson’s bike-voucher website crashes the MINUTE it launches amid huge demand for £50 coupons, leaving empty-handed cyclists to vent their frustration with string of hilarious social media memes 

The website for a government scheme offering bike repair vouchers to help get Britons on their bikes has crashed minutes after being launched.

As part of a £2billion anti-obesity drive, Boris Johnson on Monday announced plans to encourage cycling through a range of incentives.

Government plans include subsidising electronic bicycles for pensioners and commuters, and offering £50 repair vouchers so you can ‘Fix Your Bike’ and ride to work rather than use a car.

But despite launching the initiative at 11.45pm on a Tuesday night, demand for the vouchers has appeared to be unexpectedly popular and crashed the website.

Dozens of people took to social media to air their frustration, with some saying they had stayed up late just to be first in line to get a voucher.

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‘People often think that encouraging bikes and walking causes congestion – but it doesn’t, if you do it properly, and make the kind of changes we are proposing to streets to improve walking and cycling accessibility.

‘Of course you can’t deliver a fridge-freezer on a cargo bike – but you can deliver plenty of other goods that currently come in diesel vans. I want bicycles to be part of an effusion of green transport, of electric cars, buses and trains, because clean air will be to the 21st century what clean water was to the 19th.’ 

Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at Logistics UK, which represents haulage and delivery companies, told The Times: ‘With more reallocation of road space to accommodate cyclists, it is vital that the government encourages local authorities to ease restrictions around off-peak and night-time deliveries. 

‘This would ensure shops and businesses receive the stocks they need in order to return to full trading, as well as maximising the use of limited road space.’  

The proposal is just one prong of Boris Johnson’s new anti-obesity strategy as the government seizes on the surge in popularity for cycling during lockdown, which saw an almost doubling of those getting on the saddle. 

The government also seeks to improve air quality as analysis published today by Friends of the Earth found 1,360 locations across England where the amount of toxic nitrogen dioxide in the air breached recommended levels.

The new research indicates the most polluted locations in England are Chideock Hill in West Dorset, Station Taxi Rank in Sheffield and North Street Clock Tower in Brighton. Also high on the list are Neville Street Tunnel in Leeds, the Strand in Westminster and Walkbrook Wharf in the City of London.  

Simon Bowens, clean air campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told MailOnline: ‘Failing to fix air pollution costs lives. It also shows a failure to address the climate crisis because the sources and solutions are intrinsically linked. 

‘If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for ‘active travel’ needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger. 

Cyclists ride across Tower Bridge at rush hour yesterday, after Mr Johnson announced a series of schemes aimed at promoting healthier living and cycling, including bicycle repair vouchers to encourage people to return to their bikes

Cyclists ride across Tower Bridge at rush hour yesterday, after Mr Johnson announced a series of schemes aimed at promoting healthier living and cycling, including bicycle repair vouchers to encourage people to return to their bikes

Cyclists ride across Tower Bridge at rush hour yesterday, after Mr Johnson announced a series of schemes aimed at promoting healthier living and cycling, including bicycle repair vouchers to encourage people to return to their bikes

Boris Johnson talks to the owner of the the Cycle Lounge, Rodney Rouse, a bicycle repair shop, after the government announced a new plan to get Britain cycling yesterday

Boris Johnson talks to the owner of the the Cycle Lounge, Rodney Rouse, a bicycle repair shop, after the government announced a new plan to get Britain cycling yesterday

Boris Johnson talks to the owner of the the Cycle Lounge, Rodney Rouse, a bicycle repair shop, after the government announced a new plan to get Britain cycling yesterday

‘The government must also end its damaging fixation on building more roads. You can’t justify this by planning to phase out polluting petrol and diesel vehicles and replace them with electric ones. We need to go much further than just getting out of one type of car and into another.

‘Investment in better cycling and walking should be part of a fair and green post-coronavirus economic recovery plan aimed at creating a cleaner, fairer future.’ 

More than 1,000 locations in England ‘still breaching air pollution limits’

Over 1,000 sites across England still breach pollution levels every year, according to research.

A data audit by Friends of the Earth has revealed 1,360 sites breached the annual Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels, which are set to protect health.

Though recent data show a marginal improvement from previous years (last year’s audit found 1,591 English locations breaching limits) there is still a shocking number of locations exceeding the Air Quality Objective, which Local Authorities have to achieve, with some places showing very high levels of exposure (up to 144 per cent above the objective). 

Simon Bowens, clean air campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘Failing to fix air pollution costs lives. It also shows a failure to address the climate crisis because the sources and solutions are intrinsically linked. 

‘If ministers want to avoid a return to the health-damaging and illegal levels of air pollution we had before lockdown, their enthusiasm for ‘active travel’ needs to be a permanent switch and not just a short-term gap plugger.

‘The government must also end its damaging fixation on building more roads. You can’t justify this by planning to phase out polluting petrol and diesel vehicles and replace them with electric ones. We need to go much further than just getting out of one type of car and into another. 

‘Investment in better cycling and walking should be part of a fair and green post-coronavirus economic recovery plan aimed at creating a cleaner, fairer future.’

Locations ranked by annual average level of NO2 (in ug/m3) [the Air Quality Objective is set at 40ug/m3]: 

  • Chideock Hill, West Dorset 97.7
  • Station Taxi Rank, Sheffield 91.7
  • North St Clock Tower, Brighton 90.8
  • Neville St Tunnel, Leeds 88
  • Strand, City of Westminster 88
  • Walbrook Wharf, City of London 87
  • Hickleton opp Fir Tree Close, Doncaster 86
  • Marylebone Road, City of Westminster 85
  • Euston Road, Camden 82.3
  • Hickleton, Doncaster 82
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In May £2billion of new funding for cycling and walking was announced by the government to pay for thousands of miles of protected bike lanes. 

Mr Johnson has vowed to create low-traffic neighbourhoods ‘to stop rat running and make it easier to walk and cycle’, and ‘bus and bike corridors’ on main roads.

The scheme will also see more bike racks at rail and bus stations to encourage more people to commute to work – and pick their bike over the train. 

Other measures include strengthening the Highway Code by giving cyclists priority over vehicles when crossing a junction – with drivers being banned from turning left until bikes have passed. 

The government also plans to improve legal protection, increase lorry safety standards and work with police and retailers to tackle bike thefts.  

Under the heading ‘Putting cycling and walking at the heart of transport, place-making, and health policy’, the report says: ‘One objection to reallocating road space away from motor traffic is that the roads are needed for freight. 

‘That is actually an argument for getting unnecessary traffic off the roads to benefit those with a genuine need, such as many freight users. 

‘However, bikes can in fact be an alternative for many – though clearly not all – common forms of freight. 

‘Cargo bikes can carry loads of up to 250kg, compared with a typical van, which carries 600–1000kg. Lower carrying capacity is made up for by the cycle’s flexibility, and far lower costs of purchase and operation. 

‘We will extend the e-cargo bike grant programme as part of Government’s wider programme to decarbonise deliveries set out in the Last Mile Review and Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

‘In one or two small historic city centres with narrow and crowded streets, we will pilot compulsory freight consolidation schemes, based on experience from the Continent, which seek to ensure that all deliveries (except perishables and items which require specialist carriers) are made to consolidation centres on the edge of the city centre, or the edge of the city, then taken to their final destinations in a far smaller number of vehicles, including cargo bikes and electric vans wherever possible. These pilots could complement work already underway by cities and towns to develop Clean Air Zones to improve air quality.’

Yesterday the government announced plans to subsidise e-bikes for pensioners and commuters in hopes that the programme will help those who are less fit or older, who might be daunted by regular bikes, to get back in the saddle. 

The e-bikes are like regular bikes but have a small motor usually hidden in the frame to aid travel uphill or on longer journeys. 

Pensioners and commuters could be given a third off the £600-3,000 cost of a new machine to entice them to take more exercise or leave the car at home.

Mr Johnson launched the campaign in Nottinghamshire yesterday, urging motorists to ‘be courteous’ towards cyclists.

The PM said drivers must understand they will be ‘sharing the roads’ as measures costing £2billion are taken to promote cycling and walking.

Bicycles will be prescribed by doctors for patients and all Britons will be offered free training on how to ride. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps described it as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes’ to make cycling or walking part of daily routines. 

He added: ‘The measures we’ve set out today in this revolutionary plan will do just that. No matter your age, how far you’re travelling or your current confidence on a bike, there are plans to help and support you.’

Designers create a new take on the classic London Tube map which reveals how long it takes to walk or cycle between stations 

Online sports retailer Decathlon created a unique take on the iconic London Underground map, which looks at the benefits of walking, running, cycling and scootering, instead of using public transport

Online sports retailer Decathlon created a unique take on the iconic London Underground map, which looks at the benefits of walking, running, cycling and scootering, instead of using public transport

Online sports retailer Decathlon created a unique take on the iconic London Underground map, which looks at the benefits of walking, running, cycling and scootering, instead of using public transport

Designers have created a new take on the classic London Tube map which reveals how long it takes to walk or cycle between stations – as well as the calories we burn.

Online sports retailer Decathlon created a unique take on the iconic London Underground map, which looks at the benefits of walking, running, cycling and scootering, instead of using public transport.

The Healthy London Transport Map tells you how long it will take to get one from station to the other compared to travelling on the Tube.

It also tells you how many calories you would burn, the amount of CO2 you will save and how much it would have cost to have taken the train.

For example, taking the Tube from Paddington to Oxford Circus would typically take around eight minutes and cost £2.40.

But on a bike, it would take 10 minutes, burn 84 calories and save 111g of CO2.

Getting from Wimbledon to Westminster takes around 40 minutes on the Tube but on a bike it would take approximately 47 minutes, burn 388 calories and save 512g of CO2.

The map was designed by Decathlon after a study revealed 60 per cent of workers are worried about returning to the workplace during the pandemic, with the idea of using public transport again a big concern.

As a result, 75 per cent of Brits are going to avoid getting on a bus, train or taxi.

The Healthy London Transport Map tells you how long it will take to get one from station to the other compared to travelling on the Tube

The Healthy London Transport Map tells you how long it will take to get one from station to the other compared to travelling on the Tube

The Healthy London Transport Map tells you how long it will take to get one from station to the other compared to travelling on the Tube

The survey of 2,000 adults also found that 30 per cent did more exercise during lockdown than before.

Walking (66 per cent) was the most popular way to keep fit, while 31 per cent worked out while gardening, 19 per cent did floor exercises, 17 per cent went running and 15 per cent got out on their bicycle.

Just over one in 10 (12 per cent) took part in online and on-demand fitness shows while 11 per cent did yoga and weight training to keep in shape.

More than half (56 per cent) of the adults, polled for Decathlon by OnePoll, are going to maintain their fitness regime when normality resumes.

And 64 per cent want the government and local authorities to do more to encourage people to walk, run, scooter and cycle to work.

Eric Mazillier, cycle-commuter and CEO of Decathlon UK, said: ‘We created the Healthy Transport Map for London to encourage those living and commuting in and around the city to find healthier, safer and more sustainable ways to get around.

‘Our goal for the creation of this free, easy-to-use tool, is to be used as a helping hand for people, their families and communities to achieve any ambitions to become happier, healthier – whether physically or financially – or to reduce the impact of their travel-habits on our environment.

‘We hope this small but important development will be the little push that many people want and need, to find accessible and alternative ways to be where they need to be, without using those emission-heavy forms of transport.’

Prior to lockdown, 44 per cent of respondents said they typically drove to work, while 18 per cent walked.

Almost one in 10 (nine per cent) took the train, 15 per cent took the bus and five per cent took the underground.

But despite people beginning to return to work, the average Brit wants to wait around 14 weeks before returning to public transport normally again.

Incredibly, one in 10 of those surveyed said their employer had been encouraging them to use public transport to get to work during the pandemic despite the risks. 

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/urban-mobility-2020.html 

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