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Fury as FIRE ENGINE gets stuck in new cycle lane put in as part of Covid-friendly traffic measures

Footage has emerged of a fire engine becoming stuck in a road block, put in place to create a ‘Covid friendly’ cycle lanes, as furious residents up and down the country continue to rage against similar schemes – dubbed a ‘war on motorists’.

The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white car in Ferndale, south London.

As firefighters ditch the vehicle and make the short walk to the nearby incident, one angry resident can be heard raging against the scheme, saying: ‘You are trying to say this is good for us?’

The video comes as residents across Britain continue to slam the implementation of so-called Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) – which have been used by councils to wage war on motorists under the government’s controversial Active Travel project.

The scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid on footpaths and cycle during the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it is being implemented to ‘punish’ motorists.

Furious motorists across the UK have accused the government of a ‘war on drivers’ with the scheme, which has seen roads blocked, traffic congestion increased and journey times lengthened.

Angry residents in several London boroughs are said to be planning protests this weekend against LTN schemes in their areas.








The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle appearing to be wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white vehicle in Ferndale, south London

The video shows the blue-lit emergency vehicle appearing to be wedged between a wooden planter and a parked white vehicle in Ferndale, south London

The fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles

Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

The fire engine became blocked as it attempted to enter a road which has been shut off to motorised vehicles. Firefighters had to continue on foot after it became trapped between a planter and a car

Meanwhile, a mother who lives a short walk from where the footage of the fire engine was shot, at the end of last month, claims the time it takes to complete her school run has trebled as a result of the LTN scheme imposed by Lambeth Council.

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Ferndale

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Ferndale

Abi Babalola, 40, says her 10 minute school run now takes more than 30 minutes due to her having to weave her way around the streets of Brixton – even passing near to her home ‘a number of times’ in the process.

The stay-at-home mother-of-three, who has lived in the area for 30 years, claims councils are using Covid-19 as an excuse to clamp down on motorists, who she says are being ‘discriminated against.’

She said: ‘It’s ridiculous. I have to pass my house numerous times and go round the back just to access the road I live on.

‘I dread to think if the emergency services have to get to me or someone down my road.

‘I’ve lived here for 30 years and we have never had a problem. This is causing a problem for lots of people.

‘They are pushing people on to already busy roads. It’s like a car park in rush hour.

‘And not everyone can walk or cycle. I have three children and I do a big weekly shop. I can’t carry that home.’

What is the government’s active travel scheme and why are motorists upset?

The Government is spending £225 million on active travel measures across the country, most notably in London, Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham and York.

A major initiative launched by the Department for Transport in May set aside £225m for ’emergency active travel schemes for local authorities due to the pandemic’.

The department says the money will enable local authorities to produce ‘new cycling and walking facilities’ and its altered road and parking schemes will promote recovery.

However, Emergency Active Travel Fund money comes with a string attached. Councils must satisfy officials ‘they have swift and meaningful plans to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians (both groups rather than one or the other), including on strategic corridors.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle.

BCP Council was awarded around £1.4million from the government for the project.

She added: ‘During the pandemic a lot of people in the community were coming together – helping people go to the shops – but that is so difficult now that people don’t have the time.’

Meanwhile the London Fire Bridge (LFB) said the incident involving the stuck fire engine in Ferndale happened when firefighters were attending a person locked out of their home six doors down from where the fire engine was pictured. 

A spokesperson said: ‘There was no delay to our attendance and there was no damage to the fire engine or the parked cars.’

The spokesperson added the the brigade ‘supports the LTN in order to assist the recovery from the pandemic and to promote active travel,’ and that it is consulted by councils on any proposed road changes.

Lambeth Council meanwhile says the position of the planter, which was placed as part of the trial LTN scheme, was changed the day after the incident.

Cllr Claire Holland, Deputy Leader added: ‘It is important to ensure those who do not have access to a car – around 60 per cent of Lambeth residents – aren’t forced to walk or cycle on dangerous roads or forced to use public transport whilst the risk of transmission remains high.

‘These projects aim to redress this balance, making it safer for everyone to walk and cycle, so that those without a car have genuine transport options whilst leaving our road clear for those that absolutely have to use them.’

The outrage over the LTNs continues as residents in London are said to be planning a series of protests this weekend against various schemes in their area.

Protests are set to take place outside town halls in Lambeth, Islington, Ealing and Wandsworth, among other places. 

It comes as, in the latest furore caused by the scheme, angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off to create a new cycle lane.

However, the signs were soon taken down by ‘jobsworth’ council workers, in case a cyclist crashed into one of the planters and injured themselves on the screws in the placards.

Angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off, placing them in timber containers

Angry residents on Churchfield Road, in Poole, planted signs in protest against their street being closed off, placing them in timber containers 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle

Locals were left stunned by the explanation – especially as the planters themselves had been installed by the council.

The road closure has seen residents have to take a ‘massive detour’ to get to their own homes, causing anger at the timing of the new scheme. 

Have you been impacted by an active travel scheme? 

Have you been impacted by an active travel scheme? 

Contact us at [email protected]  and [email protected] 

Neighbouring street Bird Hill Road has also become a no-through road and Churchfield Road is also a no-through road with a closure to motorists at its junction with Fernside Road.

The signs, which carried the slogan ‘open our road’ were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole.

Mrs Hewitt, 61, has accused the council of ‘making up excuses’.

She said: ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous. They have put the bollards in place yet it is my signs that were of mortal danger to cyclists.

‘The workmen just turned up, pulled the signs out and tossed them in the back of their truck.

‘It was only because I saw them that I was able to get them back.

‘They told me that someone could crash and hit their head on the screws which were poking through.

‘I’ll be the first to admit that my DIY is not what it should be and the screw heads were poking through but even so, it does sound like an excuse rather than a reason.

‘We’re now in a position where we are pinned in our road for the next six months and have to take a massive detour to get to our own driveways.’

The active travel scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it 'punishes' motorists

The active travel scheme, which has been introduced to allow for social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, has caused controversy as many believe it ‘punishes’ motorists

The signs, which carried the slogan 'open our road' were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt (centre) at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole

The signs, which carried the slogan ‘open our road’ were put in place by resident Carolyn Hewitt (centre) at the end of Churchfield Road in Poole

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle.

BCP Council was awarded around £1.4million from the government for the project.

Objectors have complained that there has been no public consultation and the first they were aware of it was when the roads were blocked off with planters and bollards.

The temporary measures were put in place in August until 7 March 2021, before a decision would be made on whether they would become permanent. 

The local authority has been approached for comment.

The decision was made as part of a controversial government project that has seen hundreds of residential roads across the country blocked off in similar fashion.

In many cases, residents have complained that the move has resulted in usually quieter side roads being turned into rat-runs by motorists who have had to divert. 

Photographs taken last week across the capital in the likes of Tooting, Streatham, Balham, Islington, Mayfair and Victoria showed how the new cycle lanes were empty while cars and vans sat in heavy traffic alongside them. 

The Government is spending £225 million on similar measures across the country, most notably in Oxford, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Derby and Cardiff. 

One van driver complained about a scheme in Bristol, saying it adds 20 minutes to his journeys.

He previously told MailOnline: ‘These measures are adding about 20 minutes per hour to every journey. Which means I’m working longer for less. It’s crazy.’ 

‘It was 3pm on Wednesday, when traffic would usually be light, but a tailback snaked behind and ahead of Steve for more than a mile.

‘On August 3, the council reduced the space for powered vehicles on Lewins Mead from two lanes to one.

‘Since then, the nearside lane has become a thoroughfare for bicycles. Incidentally, while at the junction for 30 minutes, I saw only one cyclist use the bike lane.’ 

Has YOUR street been impacted by a traffic calming scheme? Contact [email protected] 

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