Extinction Rebellion try to STOP hated west London cycle lane being torn up

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the ‘disastrous’ Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with ‘hundreds’ of complaints. 

The radical Left-wing demonstrators, who infamously disrupted the distribution of British newspapers including the Mail, the Times and the Sun, glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough.  

Councillors said the lanes on Kensington High Street would be removed by Wednesday after a huge backlash, with the actor Nigel Havers saying they were causing ‘havoc’ on an already congested route. 

The U-turn was applauded by Tory politicians including Shaun Bailey, who is running for Mayor of London, and MP Felicity Buchan, after hundreds signed a petition saying the route was underused and a waste of public money.  

But XR activists joined forces with campaign group BetterStreets4K tonight to prevent the controversial cycle lane from being ripped up by Kensington and Chelsea Council. They tweeted their disapproval before organising a rally from 9.30pm which saw masked protesters waving flags being spoken to by police.

In September, the eco-protesters chained themselves to the gates of Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire and blocked access to the presses in Knowsley, Liverpool on the same evening.

The stunt was blasted by Boris Johnson for ‘attacking free speech’ after newsagents across the country were left empty the following money.  In a speech delivered to the Police Superintendents Association after the protest, Priti Patel said she was committed to helping police deal with ‘so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals.’  

The unpopular High Street Kensington scheme, which was introduced in September to get people back to their offices, saw the council receive £313,000 in funding from Transport for London’s Streetspace fund.

Chariots Of Fire actor Havers, who is a local Kensington resident, said after the council’s U-turn: ‘This is a fantastic result that will save lives because ambulances could not get through to reach patients in dire need.

‘It will also cut all that nasty pollution from cars stuck in horrendous traffic jams for hours. I now hope that other councils see sense and do the same. Everybody I speak to is angry about these cycle lanes.’

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with ‘hundreds’ of complaints

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with ‘hundreds’ of complaints

Politicians have also criticised the scheme, with local Tory MP Felicity Buchan and London Assembly member Tony Devenish both declaring they ‘hadn’t worked’ and instead increased congestion.

Will Norman, the Mayor of London’s walking and cycling commissioner said the council had blocked three major safety schemes and he would look to recover the money so it could be spent on other areas in the capital. 

He told the Evening Standard: ‘They eventually agreed to do this [the Kensington scheme] but they are taking it out before it’s even finished. People are dying on these roads. I’m so angry about it. There have been so many collisions and serious injuries that there needs to be a safe route across west London.’  

The backlash comes after the council, which initially opened up the lanes to encourage visitors back to the High Street, said they would remove the lanes following concerns over congestion, bus journey times and loading. 

Action Disability Kensington and Chelsea also raised concerns about taxis and cars being unable to drop passengers off safely at pavements. In a clip posted to Twitter Ms Buchan, the MP for Kensington, said: ‘We’re on the verge of Kensington High Street and we’ve come to see the traffic this morning. 

‘I very much wanted the cycle lane on Kensington High Street to work but unfortunately it just hasn’t.

‘It hasn’t worked for pedestrians, it hasn’t worked for the elderly, it hasn’t worked for the disabled. So very reluctantly, I am asking the council to take out the cycle lane on Kensington High Street.’ 

London Assembly Member Mr Devenish added: ‘I’d like to thank our residents and residents’ associations for working with RBKC to actually look at this scheme.

‘It was a good idea but I’m afraid it hasn’t worked. And now we need to take it out as soon as possible.’ 

In a joint statement, the politicians also said: ‘TfL has always placed RBKC under immense pressure to implement a cycleway scheme, and have threatened to take over Borough roads. It is now clear that TfL severely miscalculated the impact of such schemes, which require careful analysis.

‘We would fully encourage RBKC to explore expanding their highly successful Quietways programme, and we note the success of other measures such as on Portobello Road. Anything that is done to promote active travel must be safe, fair, and balanced for all road users, including the elderly, children, and disabled. 

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The Left-wing climate activists glued themselves to a work van which was removing the bollards that have caused weeks of misery for drivers navigating the the west London borough

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

The scheme, which saw bollards erected on the protected path along Kensington High Street, will be removed on Wednesday

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with 'hundreds' of complaints

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists have tonight tried to stop the hate Covid cycle lane in High Street Kensington from being torn up by the Tory council after it was inundated with ‘hundreds’ of complaints

‘We would like to see the cycle lane remain until the end of the current lockdown on December 2. 

‘However, we believe that this scheme needs to be removed swiftly as soon as we exit lockdown, to allow businesses along the High Street a period of unimpeded business, in the run-up to Christmas, and following the very real difficulties they have faced during the coronavirus restrictions. 

‘Kensington High Street is simply not the correct location, and we must act in the interests of our constituents.’   

Speaking on the decision Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Transport, said: ‘The cycle lane was a trial scheme to help those hopping on bikes during lockdowns and encourage shoppers to the High Street. Businesses and residents have told us loud and clear that they believe the experiment has not worked. We are listening.

‘By removing the temporary lanes as lockdown lifts, we hope to help get the High Street moving again and give our local economy the best possible chance of a good December.’

Tom Frost, Chair of Kensington Business Forum, said: ‘We support any project which helps our business community and commend the Council’s efforts to design and implement the temporary cycle lanes so quickly under a government directive.  

‘Like many others, we hoped the initiative would be a success. Unfortunately it has not helped our High Street businesses attract customers at a vital time for them, so it is good news that the lanes will be removed. 

‘As a community we must protect our local business operators and the temporary cycle lanes have given us valuable information for potential future schemes.’

Michael Stone, Chairman of Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: ‘The cycle lane in its current form is detrimental to business on Kensington High Street and beyond, and we support its removal. 

‘The pre-Christmas trading period is vital to many businesses and I encourage everyone to stay safe, shop locally, and support your local business community.’

Link hienalouca.com

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