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Tory MPs call on Shapps to Stop the war on the motorist

November 10, 2020

By Paul Homewood




Fourteen Tory MPs have written to Grant Shapps to stop the war on motorists. They have asked him, amongst other things, to stop the roll out, and withdraw the plethora of new road narrowing, blockades and dedicated cycle lanes eating into our town and city roads.

Full letter is here.


  • Craig Mackinlay MP said: “The UK’s 37m motorists and delivery vehicles should not be demonised as they often are. The car is one of the most liberating inventions ever, and our transport network has shown itself to be resilient and fundamental to keeping the show on the road during this pandemic. Low taxes on fuel are a benefit to us all, unlike poorly thought through road schemes – of which there have been too many. We are calling on the government to stop the uncalled-for war on the motorist.”
  • Howard Cox, FairFuelUK’s founder said: “Grant Shapps seems hypnotised by a small minority of ill-informed politically driven well financed greens, who pathologically hate the motorist. They are hell bent on making cars, taxis, vans, and trucks obsolescent. Shockingly a Tory Minister is grounding road transport decisions on emotion, not common sense or pragmatic data. Businesses and local communities are being devastated, not by a Chinese bug, but by myopic local authorities, without any consultation and funded by the Department of Transport. Strangulation of our city roads by new vacant cycle lanes and road blockades is intensifying congestion, escalating pollution, and risking lives by delaying emergency services. All this, so that fit well off young cyclists can enjoy their fair weather pastime at the expense of economic common sense.”

Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The effect of COVID19 on the nation’s health is mirrored by its effect on the nation’s economy; its businesses! We therefore consider that DfT’s £42m investment in ‘green’ road schemes that include additional cycle lanes and road closures to be very poorly timed. The rate at which this pandemic has changed and continues to change lives and livelihoods of citizens nationwide is absolutely mind-blowing. Of course, we welcome the measures being taken to minimise the risk of further infection but creating additional road closures and restrictions is not the way to go about it. Causing additional congestion at this critical time is a short-sighted and expensive decision, made with absolutely no consideration for the sector responsible for keeping store shelves full and maintaining the drug and PPE levels that hospitals so desperately need to save lives. If DfT has £42m to spare, surely it would be better spent on raising road safety awareness for all road users? These are challenging times for everyone and DfT should consider more carefully how they can save themselves and the taxpayers money

  1. November 10, 2020 11:45 am

    Maybe ask Shapps to provide empirical evidence that fossil fuel emissions change atmospheric composition and then and only then may he proceed with his war on fossil fuel emissions.

    • jack broughton permalink
      November 10, 2020 11:50 am

      I’m afraid that he will just reply that the models say so and the BBC says so too (as well as Boris’s closest controller), so case proven.

      • November 10, 2020 12:18 pm

        Sad but true. Thank you for reconnecting us with the ugly reality.

    • November 10, 2020 12:37 pm

      Actually your question should be more specific because change can have occurred but is it bad?

      Therefore your question with as little weasel space for maneuver should be ” Provide statistically significant empirical data based evidence that fossil fuel emissions change atmospheric composition in a way which is detrimental either to the planet or the human race”.

      This evidence should be presented in the knowledge that there is tangible empirical evidence to support the contention that returning locked up CO2 to a starved Carbon Cycle has been an unintentional good for which there is ample empirical evidence presented year on year by the greening of the planet and record food production around the world.

      We currently have had a 27% increase in the world human population in only 20 years and these lunatics want to stop the increase in food production? That will work!

      • November 10, 2020 12:57 pm

        Good point but my work on this issue finds no evidence that atmospheric composition is responsive yo fossil fuel emissions. This fundamental relationship in AGW has no empirical evidence. It is just an assumption.

    • November 10, 2020 2:43 pm

      You are quite correct.
      I sound like a broken record because I keep repeating the following:
      1. “There exists no statistically significant empirical data set(s) which support the assertion that man is responsible for any measurable amount of the current and welcome warming of the planet which began 350 years ago. None whatsoever.
      2.As no data exists supporting point 1 then there can be no empirical based link between that unmeasured or unmeasurable human footprint and climate change or acceleration in any aspect of global climate change, a process which has been constantly in action as long as the Earth has had an atmosphere and a dominant energy source(the Sun) to drive it.

      Without a proven cause there can be no proven effect Q.E.D.

      • November 10, 2020 5:40 pm

        PMFB: Please don’t apologise for repeating the truth. I never tire of reading true and thoughtful comment. God knows there is currently such sickening news everywhere you look.

      • November 11, 2020 4:19 pm

        Thank you. I know this to be true. I took a look at the data and found errors in their statistical methods.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 11, 2020 8:42 am

      No, the question to him is: “when was the detailed and inclusive political debate about what, if anything, we should do about the possible changes in climate scientists have suggested could happen?”

      The follow up question is then: “where is the detailed and independently audited cost assumptions that underlie your plans?”

      No politicians are going to argue the science. But the politics is what we do.

      • November 11, 2020 8:45 am

        These are great questions and correctly the right kind of political issues for politicians.Thank you.

  2. John H permalink
    November 10, 2020 11:53 am

    The present government is conducting wars on several fronts: Motorists, marriage, private landlords, energy users……….. All to garner credit from misguided warmists, wokels and general nitwits.

    • November 11, 2020 9:13 am

      Once the green mist has descended, commonsense and logic go out of the window.

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:12 pm

    The bicycle lobby is so irrelevant to the economic condition of the country that they have had to resort to plausible assertions about health benefits and the relief that gives to the NHS. Urban road capacity confiscation has been going on for years in spite of the fact that vehicles and their fuel generate an immense surplus revenue for HMRC. Sooner or later the majority will find its feet in this argument.
    In the meantime cyclists keep the emergency services busy and the urban road planners have something to do. In Norwich a year long program is nearing completion involving pavement widening — useful for the younger cyclists and electric scooterists – improved cycle paths for the infrequent ‘conforming’ user and the attractive but mostly unnecessary replacement of existing pavement surfaces.
    In the meantime the city is being hollowed out by the transfer of office employment and large retailers to the suburban business parks.

    • November 10, 2020 12:53 pm

      It is not just irrelevant it is an Olympic standard opportunity for even more money to be wasted. I am in Norway where at eye watering cost from the town to the area outside of the town where most of the offices lie, they are building a bespoke bicycle road….Even currently digging a 100m long tunnel for it. This is being placed next to a motorway (their term not mine) which is chronically overloaded so there is currently miserable standing traffic in both directions for around 6 or 7 hours each day. The terrain is far from flat and the weather piteous with the town famous if that is the right word for horizontal rain. The population of people who currently ride to work are either kids who cannot afford a car OR the tiny number of enthusiasts. The population of current and potential cyclists declines exponentially with age. As soon as their first pay cheque comes in they get a car loan. So a monolith with pretty colours painted all over it and LCD screens and Christmas lighting is being built to be used by…2% ok let us be generous 4% of the mobile population at most AND THEN only on nice days which do not exist in the winter. Ikea, the home of flatpack is located in the same out of town place. I suppose they expect your granny to take her bike there in horizontal rain in the middle of winter to pick up her new flatpacked kitchen!

      My opinion of all of this is that it is beyond willful ignorance but now in the realms of willful criminality which by definition is the abuse of public funds for no good or credible reason when at the same time cutting frontline services to REAL problems.,

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        November 10, 2020 2:23 pm

        From my experience of working in Oslo, building a road tunnel is no easy – or cheap – thing, what with the rocky terrain.

      • November 10, 2020 2:56 pm

        Haha! Harry, that is an interpretation of the word “cheap” that I was not previously aware of! (borrowed with affection from Douglas Adams).

        I do not associate the word with anything in Norway. relatively Sweden is cheap compared to Norway. Denmark we no longer discuss since the NOK tanked against the DKK.

        My mention of the tunnel was merely to emphasise the degree of asininity involved in the creation of this white elephant. The cost per metre of blacktop here is through the roof.

        During the past year at one of the many bottlenecks and causes of traffic congestion on the “motorway they started to build a third lane from one major junction onto the “motorway” to the next and significant take off. When I saw this I thought “finally” they have understood the causes of the awful congestion on the “motorway and are starting to address it”. I could not have been more wrong. A couple of months ago when I saw them stenciling “Bus Lane” on it the truth finally dawned. I just checked my road toll register ( more misery they inflicted on standing traffic) and see I have passed this new white elephant 23 times since it was opened and usually while I have been sitting next to it in standing traffic. On all those 23 occasions not one bus passed me using the facility. I am sure sharp as you are, you will be wondering why public transport is using the motorway…..a discussion of that absurdity is for another day.

    • In the Real World permalink
      November 10, 2020 1:34 pm

      Grant Shapps has admitted that the cycle schemes that a lot of councils bought in under emergency regs during the Pandemic are a disaster .

      But very few will match the Insanity of Cambridge , which spent Millions in converting a roundabout into a ” Dutch Style ” cycle priority type .
      Accident statistics from Holland , [ where they are more aware of cycles on the roads ,] prove that cyclists are 8 times more likely to be injured on that sort than a normal roundabout .
      So it is not surprising that it is already being called ” The Organ Donor roundabout “

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 10, 2020 3:33 pm

        ?..conveniently close to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, with many cyclists like.y to be young nurses.

      • In the Real World permalink
        November 11, 2020 12:05 pm

        As IDAU says , very handy for getting the cyclists into the hospital .

        Cambridge is a city full of cyclists , most of them without much common sense , so how many will to be injured before the Council has to do the consultation , [ which was not needed during the Pandemic .]
        And will it be admitted that cyclist priority roundabouts are a lot more dangerous . Information that is freely available .

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      November 10, 2020 1:37 pm

      There will be an increased number of cyclists in a zero carbon country. It will be the only affordable method of getting anywhere for the vast majority.

      The evolution of a nation seems to go like this.
      Walk to work in fields
      Walk to work in a factory
      Cycle to work in a factory
      Motorcycle to work in a factory
      Drive to or for work
      Cycle to work/work at home
      Walk to work in fields.

      We’ve entered the downward part of the process.

      • dennisambler permalink
        November 10, 2020 3:10 pm

        Mao’s Red Guards are replaced by the UN’s Green Guards

    • Stonyground permalink
      November 11, 2020 7:06 am

      Before I retired I used to cycle commute on a regular basis. My experience of cycle paths is that those that are seperate from the road are useful, even though some are poorly maintained. The ones that consist of extra road markings are fairly useless as they tend to be badly thought out and often end abruptly or channel riders into the most dangerous part of the road. I drive a car too so why would I want half of the road blocked off. As always, if there is a terrible idea, our idiot politicians will go with it.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 11, 2020 8:49 am

      Planners, Greens and the Left always just assume people will suck it up. But they won’t. Businesses will move out, people will shift where they live, retail will change. Councils now whine about losing income from rates because of the demise of the high street but they contributed to that with their war on cars. The idea many people over 35 are going to be regular cyclists to work is pure fantasy. But it’s that age group that pay most taxes, run most businesses and own most property. As various US cities and a few states are going to find out, people an vote with their feet and you only need a significant minority of those who actually pay for stuff for it to make a big difference.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 11, 2020 10:24 am

      The Polo Effect – the hollowing out of town centres as business and retail moves to the outer edge. The logical thing is for the centres to be converted to housing and changes made to provide a reverse commute. This has probably been coming for a while now but likely to be accelerated if as seems likely we never return to the pre-Covid state.

  4. Is it just me? permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:26 pm

    I propose we let cyclists carry everything vans & trucks do on their bicycles? We’ll fit a rickshaw attachment to cyclists so they can replace taxis.
    Whilst that’s happening, what about Schapps’s ‘inquiry’ into ‘smart motorways’ he was put under the cosh to look at on Panorama a while back? What’s happened there? Is that in the tall grass now too?

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 11, 2020 6:57 pm

      Is it just, cycle rickshaws have been commonplace in parts of central London in the UK for quite some years now. Needless to say they were the result of commerce and were an informal idea and introduction. Where cycle lanes existed, they took business away from taxis in say, the gridlocked Oxford Street area. The taxi drivers protested and no doubt the Mayor had one or two delayed journeys thanks to bus congestion, so the Mayor of London decided they should be ‘regulated’.

      Say no more.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:28 pm

    The waste of money on this nonsense has been obscene.

    After the minority activists ran out of steam flooding media and surveys with support, the overwhelming majority of the schemes have been condemned by the public, and many have/are being removed for causing congestion, pollution, and danger.

    Having forced everyone off public transport, only an idiot would not realise you need more car space, not deliberate obstruction.

    As a cyclist I never felt the need for special facilities/consideration and I am ashamed of the attitudes and standards of modern cycling.

    No doubt the £50 fix your bike scheme resulted in a flood of new ‘cycle repair’ companies popping up and a mountain of fraud, just as with the corona business loan scheme.

    It’s only our money, what does Shapps care.

    • cassio21 permalink
      November 10, 2020 2:13 pm


      After the first handout of vouchers HMG decided to postpone the scheme, at least until cycle repair shops could cope with the demand.

    • Steve permalink
      November 11, 2020 10:49 am

      The wide cycle lane put on the A259 coast road in Brighton was 15ft from the perfectly good existing cycle lane along the seafront. Cyclists, including myself, preferred it because it is safer and away from the exhaust fumes of the new long queues of traffic.

    • Stonyground permalink
      November 12, 2020 7:55 am

      “As a cyclist I never felt the need for special facilities/consideration and I am ashamed of the attitudes and standards of modern cycling.”

      I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Cycling safely and considerately in traffic takes skill but it isn’t that difficult. Some drivers can be impatient and inconsiderate but you know that they will be, so take that into account when riding.

  6. November 10, 2020 12:34 pm

    Since everyone will soon be working from home, it all seems a bit irrelevant anyway.

  7. gillieg permalink
    November 10, 2020 12:47 pm

    pity they missed the spelling error – used the wrong stationery – should be statonAry!!

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 10, 2020 3:14 pm

      Got there before me, but in the excitement you took your “i” off the ball! Good job they didn’t copy the Education dept, but then, no-one would have noticed.

      • gillieg permalink
        November 11, 2020 12:43 pm

        !! I replied in haste as I was so cross – so didn’t check before sending! Important lesson learned , thanks! As you say, doubtful that the Education Dept would have noticed!!

  8. Alan Haile permalink
    November 10, 2020 2:11 pm

    Putney High Street was said to be one of the most polluted roads in London as it is quite narrow with high buildings on either side and loads of traffic. It is now going to be much worse than before as the Council (LB Wandsworth) are widening the pavement on one side, by a considerable amount too (several feet). At the bottom of the High Street in the direction of Putney Bridge there is a busy bus stop where some services change drivers and so there always seems to be a bus stopped there. On the other side of the road the pavement extension in under construction and seems to be taking a whole lane of traffic away from the width of the road. This will cause chaos as nothing will be able to pass the bus stop when a bus is there. The result of all this will be that Putney High Street will retain its Blue Riband of most polluted by becoming even more polluted.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 11, 2020 8:53 am

      All of which slows traffic over Putney Bridge even more, when Hammersmith Bridge is shut and will remain closed for years. And Putnry High Street is suffering from loss of retailers so this is all bound to help that.

  9. dennisambler permalink
    November 10, 2020 3:16 pm

    In the Welsh countryside there are miles of pavements to nowhere, presumably “make work” from EU “Less favoured nation” grants.

    • November 10, 2020 9:09 pm

      Concrete or blacktop`? Either way lots of lervely CO2 was released producing them. They should get a special seal of recognition for helping rebalance the Carbon Cycle. Oh and feed the 27% extra people on the planet who have appeared in the last 20 years…almost all in India Africa and Asia. Rest assured, our dynamic Western governments not wanting to be left out are doing their bit by importing folks en masse from those regions and paying bonus every time they reproduce……what would our antecedents think……

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 10, 2020 5:00 pm

    Two informative wind power links from GWPF twitter.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 11, 2020 10:26 am

      Anyone else having difficulty reaching GWPF websites today? Isitdown claims working, but I get constant DNS errors.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        November 11, 2020 12:17 pm

        Yes, but it’s back.

  11. Steve permalink
    November 11, 2020 11:12 am

    Shapps will do nothing because the whole Conservative party, with a few exceptions, has gone what they call Bright Blue or Thick Green. Boris seems to have been brainwashed while getting earfuls of greencrap from Carrie. It’s like a horror movie where the whole community is taken over.
    The next horror will be when they agree to keep British regulations in line with the EU so that the playing field is level and they can carry on selling more stuff to us than we sell to them.
    In which case we will shortly change to putting 10% ethanol in petrol and then economical cars with small engines will lose 10% or more mpg. This was proved by the Autocar tests and I had experience of it when my car ran on some dodgy delivery of E10 petrol during lockdown 1. I checked the % by putting water in a bottle of it and still have it to show that it was 10%.
    My car suddenly went back to doing 55-60 mpg instead of 47 after lockdown ended.
    Will Shapps be bright enough to see that no CO2 will be saved and forget the extra tax that lower mileage will create? Of course not, because he’s Thick Green.

  12. Micky R permalink
    November 12, 2020 7:20 pm

    The UK motorist has not had effective representation for decades. The AA and the RAC used to represent the motorist to a certain extent, that ended years ago. In the mid-1970s, tax extracted from the motorist was broadly equal to road expenditure. The latest info I can find is 2014

    The report was written by transport consultant David Bayliss. His study shows that the Chancellor now receives, in broad terms, a net 9p per mile travelled by car and van drivers.

    By way of comparison:

    bus passengers are subsidised 10p per mile (including concessionary fares support)
    rail passengers are subsidised 14p per mile
    London Underground passengers are subsidised 16p per mile

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