Nigel Farage says that we ‘could be in lockdown until Easter’
The former UKIP leader lashed out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapp’s £250 million investment into promoting cycling and walking. Mr Farage also indicated the Reform Party will field candidates in next year’s local elections against “any and every” politician who supports the Government on the green scheme. The Reform Party rebranded from Brexit Party earlier this year over Mr Farage’s opposition to the Government’s lockdown and coronavirus measures.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Farage argued the cycling and walking push has been a “disaster” which has caused “untold misery”.
He said: “My new party will stand candidates against any and every local councillor who backs these new cycle lanes and road closures in next year’s local elections.
“If measures to improve the environment really are necessary, they can only be introduced sensibly and with proper consultation, not sneaked through cynically under the guise of the pandemic.
“This has become a very important issue for the Reform Party.”
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Mr Farage then argued the Conservative party had used the green police to “show off its eco-credentials”.
He then stressed the UK “simply cannot afford to blow money on trendy ‘green’ projects like this”, claiming very few cyclists actually use the lanes.
Mr Farage added: “The OBR has forecast that the economy will contract by 11.3 per cent this year while borrowing will reach £394 billion – 19 per cent of GDP, the highest level in peacetime history.
“I don’t think anybody has really begun to digest what this will mean for Britain’s economic future.”
The party leader then continued to suggest many low traffic neighbourhoods were “environmentally counterproductive” and at times “downright dangerous” due to their impact on emergency services.
In May, Mr Shapps unveiled plans to boost green transport with a £250 million emergency active travel fund, which intends to widen footways, protect pop-up cycle paths and support car-free streets.
But the Telegraph reported levels of nitrogen oxide fumes had plummeted in low traffic neighbourhoods in London when road closures were axed.
Wandsworth Council research, reported by the outlet, suggested traffic congestion and pollution was being shifted to main roads, where poorer housing and estates are often established.
A survey of councils also showed one in four town halls scrapped or dropped road closures and pop-up cycle lanes after public opposition.
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Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, also told the Telegraph she had been inundated with emails complaining about low traffic neighbourhoods.
Writing in the paper, she said: “A well-intentioned policy has resulted in multiple unintended consequences all over London.
“Labour councils have been the most ardent adopters of ‘active travel’.
“But I fear that ploughing on regardless endangers votes and council seats amidst accusations of arrogance.”
Mr Farage spoke to Express.co.uk over his fears Mr Johnson did not have the “courage” to walk away from a bad deal with the European Union.
He said: “If ever there was a moment for the Prime Minister to step in and make sure we got a good deal it literally is within these next few days, because afterwards, it’ll be too late.
“The mood music suggests to me that the American election has changed the dynamic of this in quite a big way.
“I don’t think Boris has got the courage to say no to a bad deal because he fears he’ll look friendless, stuck in the mid-Atlantic, ostracised by the EU, and potentially by an incoming American administration.
“I think for all of those reasons, we are likely to sign up to a series of measures that mean we’re not really as free as we want to be.”
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