Policies to prioritise driving, scale back low-traffic neighbourhoods, and challenge parking fines to be announced.
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, is poised to announce his decision against allowing councils to establish new 20mph zones on main roads, as part of a broader scheme aimed at motorists. This move, set to be unveiled at the Tory conference in Manchester, is geared towards reducing low-traffic neighbourhoods and facilitating drivers in contesting parking penalties.
These measures follow the Conservatives’ surprising victory in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, which many believe was influenced by public disapproval of Labour’s approach to motorists. The package is also likely to feature restrictions on councils’ authority to impose fines through traffic cameras and limits on enforcing box junction violations. Additionally, the PM might disclose a limit on hours during which vehicles are barred from bus lanes.
Previously, in July, Mr Sunak made commitments to counteract “anti-motorist policies”, especially after the Tories’ unforeseen win in Uxbridge, largely attributed to voters’ concerns over the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio Manchester, the Prime Minister emphasised the significance of driving, stating most journeys are made by car. He also highlighted the urgent need to address potholes, calling them a top concern among citizens.
Contrarily, in Wales, the Labour Government’s decision to introduce 20mph speed limits on roads that were formerly 30mph has faced substantial opposition, prompting a review.
Interestingly, Downing Street and the Department for Transport have labeled these new policies as “mere speculation”. However, some speculate that this move aims to divert attention from the anticipated cancellation of the Birmingham to Manchester HS2 rail segment due to concerns about escalating expenses.
The Sustrans transport charity criticised the Prime Minister’s new proposals, suggesting that it disadvantages those without cars and even hampers drivers by increasing congestion. Source