THE Echo has printed many articles and letters about the Emergency Active Travel measures in the BCP area, implemented urgently at behest of government using an experimental process with consultation on installation.

The temporary pedestrianisation of Poole Quay and the lower High Street has been accompanied by an increase in footfall and spending according to feedback from businesses. Some of the government funded urgent active travel schemes may need adjustment to work effectively. Others may prove unsuccessful, as would be expected with such experimental orders.

Consultation is ongoing via the council’s website, for six months after implementation as set out in the regulations. This enables people to comment after having seen the schemes in action.

The schemes are being driven by government policy and funding, and were prioritised by officers. However, a small group of online activists has been posting defamatory and malicious online statements about us in relation to these measures. They heap vitriol upon cyclists, ignoring benefits to other non-motorised travellers, and exaggerate the impact on drivers.

Some drivers will experience slightly longer journeys, but safety benefits and quieter neighbourhoods will be achieved by keeping through traffic on main roads. As more people walk or cycle, space will be released for those still driving.

These sorts of closures are not new. Heckford Park, Boscombe and Upper Parkstone already have measures to remove through traffic from residential areas. What is new and urgent in the context of Covid-19 is the need to persuade people to make healthier travel and leisure choices and to create safer environments for them. Authorities around the country are making similar changes.

Those who disagree with this approach are free to object and, as councillors, we expect robust challenge. However, the current campaign of abuse is nothing short of malicious bullying and will deter people from standing for election in the future.


Borough of Poole Councillor for Poole Town and leader of Poole People