Brighton cycle lane scrapped by Labour and Conservatives

Cllr Amy Heley cites the climate crisis, public health, and detriment to poorer communities in address to fellow councillors, as removal of the existing cycle lane is ‘deeply irresponsible’.

A sign saying 'end of cycle route', with trees behind it
A sign saying 'end of cycle route', with trees behind it

Matt Seymour

Green World

Brighton and Hove Green Party have condemned the decision of Labour and Conservative councillors to scrap a major cycle route in the city. 

Cllr Amy Heley, Chair of Environment, Sustainability and Transport committee, said: “Despite important warnings that this will harm council funding, public health and some of the city’s most marginalised residents, we are dismayed to see Labour and Conservative councillors work together to remove the new safe cycle lanes on Old Shoreham Road.”

The Greens raise that the cycle route has been used by communities to make their journeys more physically active, and are disappointed that the council has taken a big step back in sustainable development. 

They argue that the route was used in particular by young people travelling to school, who may have to find alternative means of transport in September, and some of the city’s poorest communities, who may have lost a cheap, accessible and sustainable way of moving through Brighton and Hove.

Heley said: “It’s particularly disappointing to see the promise of new investment in our city, including jobs, put at risk by the Labour group, given they have previously campaigned with us to demand government funding for our city. 

With huge issues at stake, like our recovery from Covid-19, and after a decade of Conservative government cuts, short-term decisions which will defund Brighton and Hove are deeply irresponsible.”

Research taken from part of the council’s consultation on the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane found that around 35 per cent of cyclists on this route had previously travelled by car, before the safer option to cycle was provided.

Green councillors celebrate that in the face of the climate crisis and public health emergency, so many residents are taking the opportunity to try alternative modes of transport. They also cite reduced congestion as another benefit of the current cycle lane.

Brighton and Hove Green Party state that they will continue their work to provide safe, sustainable transport solutions across the city. New travel improvements, including more cycle lanes, are set to be introduced on the A259, A23 and Western Road, with developments planned for the recently installed lanes on Madeira Drive.

The council have also made progress towards pedestrianising parts of the city, which ‘continues to encourage more people to visit and enjoy spending time at our local businesses’.

Cllr Amy Heley concludes: “Yesterday’s UN climate change report was unequivocal: ‘the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed.’ Yet today, local positive action to prevent further climate breakdown has been thrown out by Labour and Conservatives.

“In the face of this, and the vital work needed to recover from the pandemic, we will always put the safety of Brighton and Hove residents first. From active travel to support for jobs and communities, Greens are focused on how our city can thrive.”