RISHI Sunak has claimed that 20mph zones are part of a “war on motorists”.
In his latest electioneering foray into culture war topics, the Prime Minister took aim at policies aimed at ensuring the safety and health of pedestrians.
He said the UK Government would be publishing a “long-term plan” to “put the brakes on anti-car measures” such as 20mph speed limit zones, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 15-minute cities.
Speaking to The Sun, he targeted the devolved administration in Wales for making 20mph the default speed limit on restricted roads and built-up areas such as town centres.
He said: “There is just this relentless attack on motorists and a common misunderstanding from politicians in Westminster about the fact that most people around the country depend on their cars.
“They depend on their cars to get to work, take their kids to school, do their shopping, see the doctor.
“What we want to do now is make sure that all these hare-brained schemes forced on local communities, whether it's low traffic neighbourhoods, whether it's in blanket 20 mile an hour speed limits, all of that… need to stop.
“What we want to make sure is that we local communities are not having these things imposed upon them, forced on them.
"We've seen that happening in Wales. That's not right. And we're going to take a different approach to this.”
The legislation on 20mph speed limits was passed by the Welsh Parliament last year.
It is designed to reduce the severity of injuries suffered by those involved in road accidents.
Sunak also railed against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), which seek to improve the experience of pedestrians and cyclists by limiting vehicle access in certain areas.
He said he will seek to limit the number of LTNs being created by local councils and stop them implementing “15-minute cities”.
The 15-minute cities concept seeks to ensure that all essential amenities – such as supermarkets, sports facilities and GPs – are within a 15-minute walk of where people live.
However, the Prime Minister said he would be consulting on ways to prevent 15-minute city schemes which “aggressively restrict” where people are permitted to drive.
The heads of six active travel and walking charities – the Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans – sent a joint letter to the UK Government denouncing the new “plan for the motorist”.
It read: “When the government should be giving people more opportunities to live their lives responsibly, it’s robbing them of options.
“When Ministers could be promoting public transport, cycling and walking as cheap sustainable options in a cost of living and climate crisis, they’re entrenching congestion and reliance on driving for short local journeys.
“This is a plan that looks no further than one way of travelling and will make the roads worse for those occasions when people do need to drive.”