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Calls for high street car ban to be extended

PUBLISHED: 13:37 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:37 02 July 2020

Colchester council announced the ban to improve cycling infrastructure and reduce pollution in the town Picture: Jessica Hill

Colchester council announced the ban to improve cycling infrastructure and reduce pollution in the town Picture: Jessica Hill

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Residents in Colchester are calling for an extension to the ban on private cars driving in the high street after seeing the benefits of cleaner air and safer roads in lockdown.

Cars have been banned from Colchester's high street since June 15 Picture: GETTY IMAGESCars have been banned from Colchester's high street since June 15 Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The scheme in place from June 15 bans any private cars driving down High street from Head Street, while lorries, buses, taxis, cyclists and motorbikes can still use the road.

It is part of a joint effort by Colchester Borough and Essex County Council to provide better infrastructure to alternative forms of travel to cars since the coronavirus pandemic started.

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Environmental campaigners Extinction Rebellion (XR) have lauded the move and will present a signature of more than 100 signatures to the county council, thanking them for their work and asking for it to continue.

XR Colchester member Ellisif Wasmuth said: “XR is partially about creating and sustaining visions of what a better, more resilient society can look like.

“In the climate crisis, we are facing a threat that is hard to fathom but the Covid-19 crisis has shown us that change is possible.

“These steps taken by the council to deal with the Covid-19 crisis are steps in the right direction, but they must be extended and made permanent in the face of the climate emergency.”

A bid to reduce the traffic on Colchester’s high street has been made before, with cars and lorries being banned from 11am-6pm back in 2013.

The move was met with stiff resistance and the 18-month trial was dropped after just three weeks following complaints of a loss of business from traders and some brides forced to walk the length of the street when their wedding cars were prevented from driving up to the entrance of the Town Hall wedding venue.

The XR petition was also filled with messages from the public applauding the environmental decision.

Adam Henriksen said: “Thank you for seeing through this measure.

“Please continue working, on behalf of the town, to push Colchester further to be truly at the forefront of demonstrating how we can function in a better, cleaner, healthier way for everyone - and of how absolutely vital it is that we all support a variety of measures which continue rapidly along this path.”

Julia Mason said: “It’s good to see you grasping the opportunity to start making Colchester safer, healthier and less polluted.

“I’m looking forward to more environmental action by Colchester Borough Council.”

Clare Smee added: “It’s been lovely seeing more bikes in town on quieter, safer streets. A very hopeful sign for our future.”


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