Cycling UK takes council to court over decision to remove cycle lane

Cycling UK takes council to court over decision to remove cycle lane

  • Cycling UK’s judicial review of West Sussex County Council decision set for 25 January
  • Charity is crowdsourcing the funding for its legal challenge through its Cyclist Defence Fund

A court date is now set for Cycling UK’s judicial review of West Sussex County Council’s decision to remove a popular cycle lane in Shoreham, West Sussex.

On 25 to 26 January 2022, the High Court will have the opportunity to rule whether the council’s decision to remove the cycle lane on the Upper Shoreham Road was unlawful.

That decision was made on 3 November 2020, even though the cycle lane was only installed at the end of September 2020 through government funding to enable more people to walk and cycle.

During its short lifetime the lane was used for 30,000 cycle trips, serving five schools along its length. It also featured in a government publicity video highlighting the community benefits of the new cycle lanes introduced during lockdown in 2020.

After the council authorised the lane’s removal, the Department for Transport barred West Sussex County Council from bidding for the next round of funding from its Active Travel Fund.

Cycling UK is relying on crowdsourced funding through its Cyclist Defence Fund (CDF) for its legal challenge and is asking for donations to cover the costs for the trial and to support CDF’s wider work. The CDF was set up to help fight for the rights of people who cycle across the whole of the UK or who might cycle if they thought the roads were safer. The charity has said that, if it is successful in its legal challenge and recovers its costs, it will use the funding for its ongoing work to make the roads safer for everyone.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:

“In Shoreham, Cycling UK wants to draw a line in the sand, and show there are repercussions for councils which ignore government guidance. We’re taking the council to court as we want to set a precedent, and put a stop to short sighted decisions like this which are happening across the UK.

“Though we’re a cycling charity fighting over a cycle lane’s removal, at the heart of our legal challenge this really isn’t a cycling issue. We’re fighting to ensure children can travel to school in safety, so people don’t have to breathe foul air, and for healthier, safer streets where we live and work.

“We’re truly grateful for all the support we’ve received from the public so far for our legal battle in Shoreham and hope they can continue to support us and our ongoing work to make the UK a better place for everyone.”

 

Cyclists' Defence Fund

Contact information 

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900 - 1700) please email publicity@cyclinguk.org. Out of hours, call 07786 320 713

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund helps fight significant legal cases involving cyclists and cycling, especially those that could set important precedents for the future and could affect the safety of all cyclists. https://www.cyclinguk.org/cdf
  3. Governmental statutory guidance on the reallocation of road space for cycling and walking: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reallocating-road-space-in-response-to-covid-19-statutory-guidance-for-local-authorities/traffic-management-act-2004-network-management-in-response-to-covid-19

 

Timeline:

  • 9 May 2020: The Government announced the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) and the legislative measures to support making changes to the road network.
  • 27 May: The Department for Transport (“DfT”) wrote to local authorities giving further details about the EATF, making it clear that the EATF funding was aimed at, and awarded for, schemes which could bring about long-term change and encourage active travel, such as cycling, rather than just focusing on measures responding to coronavirus.
  • 5 June: West Sussex County Council (WSCC) applied for the first tranche of funding available under the EATF.
  • 26 June: WSCC was awarded £781,000 from Tranche 1 of the EATF to allow implementation of seven new and improved pop-up cycle lane schemes, including the cycle lane on Upper Shoreham Road.
  • 21 July: WSCC published its decision to allocate the funds received from the grant to the relevant budgets and to implement the seven schemes.
  • 7 September: Work implementing the cycle lane at Upper Shoreham Road commenced.
  • 25 September: WSCC announced that the work on the cycle lane was completed, although additional works were still being undertaken throughout October.
  • 3 November: Councillor Roger Elkins took the decision to remove all the emergency active travel schemes, including the Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane.
  • 18 November: WSCCs Environment and Scrutiny Committee called in the decision concerning the removal of the Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane, noting that the scheme had exceeded expectations and that it was questionable why a successful scheme should be removed.
  • 25 November: Councillor Elkins confirmed the decision to remove the cycle lane.
  • 11 January 2021: Work commenced to remove the cycle lane, which was undertaken over a period of several days.
  • 25 February: Cycling UK applied for judicial review.
  • 26 May: At a hearing in the High Court, Mr Justice Lane refused Cycling UK’s applications for permission to pursue the judicial review.
  • 2 June: Cycling UK appealed Mr Justice Lane’s decision, which was considered in the Court of Appeal.
  • 1 September: Cycling UK discovered its appeal had been allowed.
  • 29 November: court dates revealed.
  • 25 / 26 January 2022: Judicial review in High Court.

What is the Cyclists' Defence Fund? 

Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund helps fight significant legal cases involving cyclists and cycling, especially those which could set important precedents for the future and could affect the safety of all cyclists.

It is supported by clubs, members and individuals who have all made contributions to help ensure Cycling UK is ready to work on behalf of the wider cycling community when it's really needed, like it is at the moment in Shoreham-by-Sea.

 

Cyclists' Defence Fund 

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