Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Extinction Rebellion protesters glued to van to stop removal of controversial bike lane
3 December 2020, 09:54 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 12:25
Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists glued themselves to a work van that was trying to remove bollards for a controversial cycle lane in Kensington.
Councillors in the borough said the lanes would be removed by Wednesday after locals complained it was causing more congestion on High Street Kensington.
Tory candidate for the Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey, supported the removal of the lanes along with several other local politicians.
Chairman of Kensington & Chelsea Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Michael Stone, said: "The cycle lane in its current form is detrimental to business on Kensington High Street and beyond, and we support its removal.”
But there was a backlash to the plans including from the borough's teachers and cyclists.
Kensington primary school organised a protest ride on Wednesday morning to support the lanes which were used by around 4,000 cyclists a day, which is around three times the number before they were installed.
Just 5 billionaires control all the major UK newspapers & they use them to pursue their interests & pet projects.— Extinction Rebellion London 🌍 (@XRLondon) December 2, 2020
Angry viscount Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail, campaigned against a cycle lane protecting children because it inconvenienced his drive.pic.twitter.com/O4nwezOxTQ
XR led another protest in the evening along with BetterStreets4k at 9.30pm with protesters waving flags and trying to prevent workmen from removing the cycle lane.
The lane was first introduced in September to encourage people back to their offices and the council received £313,000 in funding from Transport for London's Streetspace scheme.
The Mayor of London's walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, blasted the U-turn and said the council had blocked three major safety schemes.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, he said: "They eventually agreed to do this but they are taking it out before it's even finished. People are dying on these roads. I'm so angry about it. There have been so many collisions and serious injuries that there needs to be a safe route across west London."
But Chairman of Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce Michael Stone said: "The cycle lane in its current form is detrimental to business on Kensington High Street and beyond, and we support its removal.
"The pre-Christmas trading period is vital to many businesses and I encourage everyone to stay safe, shop locally, and support your local business community."
Extinction Rebellion made headlines in September after blocking roads around Kensington, as well as other parts of the country, to disrupt the distribution of right-wing newspapers including The Times, The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard.
LBC has contacted XR for comment.