Please support our open letter

We have joined forces with other interested parties in Havering to pen an open letter to our Council calling on them to take up the government funding available for active travel.

Dear Councillor Damian White, London Borough of Havering,

We the undersigned, are writing to you because we are very concerned that our borough’s walking and cycling infrastructure is not developed enough to allow the increased numbers of people who are now walking and cycling to go about their business in safety.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a huge increase in the number of people walking and cycling for work, shopping and for their exercise, and so we are asking you to take some simple steps to give people more space to walk and cycle in safety.

We know that the government has made funding available for you to do this because they recognise that as the lockdown eases, people are in a real dilemma about how to undertake their essential journeys whilst avoiding public transport and social distancing.

We also know that the government has stipulated that this funding will only be released to support bold measures that will make a real difference to how people travel.

You may be aware that the Government’s for Climate Change (CCC) just released its interim report and its key findings included infrastructure to make it easy for people to walk, cycle and work remotely. Dedicated safe spaces for walking and cycling, more bike parking and support for shared bikes and scooters can help the nation get back to work in a more sustainable way.

So we need you to take some bold decisions.

We accept that the opportunities for segregated cycle lanes within the borough are limited to the widest of our main roads, so we will also need a number of selected road closures with clear signage to create “corridors” that will be safe and pleasant for people to use to move around by foot or by bike.

Full guidance of measures is provided within the ‘London Streetspace Plan’ including pop-up cycling lanes, school streets and pavement widening. Such measures are cheap, effective and quick to implement.

Many other boroughs, including those in outer London such as Enfield and Kingston are already doing this so there is no reason why we cannot do it in Havering.

All that is needed is for us to stop thinking of the car as the only way to travel and for us to have the political will to seize the moment and make the changes.

Finally, remembering the backlash we saw against parking charges last year, we strongly believe it is vital that the council consults its residents, as other London Boroughs have, on the active travel plan so as to allow for understanding and ownership of these bold plans.

We urge you to give this your full consideration.

Yours sincerely,

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