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Cycle campaigners reject claim that cycle lanes increase pollution

Posted on in Cycles News

Cycling campaigners in London have rejected Lord Robert Winston's claims that bike lanes are increasing pollution in the capital.

During an air-quality debate in the House of Lords this week, Winston claimed that cycle lanes cause increased levels of pollution by forcing cars and vans to travel more slowly.

Image result for cycle superhighwayHe claimed: "The reduction of lanes which traffic can travel down means that there are more cars taking longer journeys than ever before at slower speed."

"The internal combustion engine is less efficient and pollutes more at slow speed particularly when it's waiting."

In response Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner for the London Cycling Campaign told the Evening Standard: "As a scientist I expect Lord Winston to back up his claims with evidence, all studies so far show that most cycle schemes in London have decreased pollution."

In 2017 The Guardian commissioned an independent study to look at the causes of congestion. The report suggested that "75% of congestion is caused simply by there being too great a demand for our limited street space. Or, without the jargon: too many motor vehicles and too few people in them." The report goes on to recommend that the "most space-efficient means of moving people - walking, cycling and public transport - should be prioritised over low-occupancy private transport."

The report also notes that at peak times, cycling infrastructure in London moves an average of 46% of people along the route despite occupying only 30% of the equivalent road space. Just two weeks after opening, the east-west and north-south cycle superhighway roads were moving 5% more people per hour than they could without cycle lanes.

A spokesman for Sadiq Khan's office also disputed Mr Winston's comments.

He said: "Cycle lanes do not cause congestion and pollution. With our limited street space it is vital that we encourage more Londoners to cycle, walk and use public transport. These are cleaner and more efficient uses of our roads, with cycle lanes proven to help move people along our streets.

"With London's population set to expand to 10.8 million over the next 25 years, making our capital one of the best cities in the world for cycling is not only about improving our health, wellbeing and quality of life, it is absolutely fundamental for our future economic prosperity."

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