City of the quarter of an hour, 30 km/h... The British Conservative government has shown its willingness to "support motorists" by ending "anti-car measures" this Friday, September 29, at a time when some localities led by the opposition impose more restrictive measures in the name of safety or the environment.
"The crackdown on motorists is an attack on the daily lives of most people in the UK who depend on cars to get to work or see their families," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement. "This week the UK government will present a long-term plan to support drivers, ending anti-car measures across England," he added.
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Limiting the autonomy of cities in terms of cars
Among the measures unveiled Friday, two days before the start of the annual congress of the Conservative Party, the government wants to "review the rules" allowing municipalities to limit speed to 20 miles per hour (mph) or about 30 km / h, in England, in order to "prevent their widespread use in areas where it is not appropriate".
He also wants to "prevent local councils from deploying the principle of the city of the quarter of an hour", which advocates the model of a city where essential services are accessible within 15 minutes on foot or by bike, in order to reduce polluting modes of transport.
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Conservative Party trails in polls
The announcements come as the Welsh government, led by Labour's First Minister Mark Drakeford, lowered the maximum speed limit in some residential areas from 30 mph to 20 mph (about 30 km/h), a move denounced by the Conservatives.
And since the end of August, a tax on the most polluting vehicles has been extended to all of Greater London at the initiative of the mayor of the capital, the Labour Sadiq Khan, in order to fight against air pollution. The move was seen as having caused the Labour candidate to lose to his Conservative opponent in a by-election this summer in a constituency in west London.
Within the Conservative Party, trailing in the polls while the next general elections are expected by January 2025, the measure has awakened supporters of a slowdown in the country's effort to fight climate change and protect the environment, in the name of defending the British economy.
A week earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced "a new approach" to climate policy, saying he wanted to be more "realistic", and notably postponing by five years, to 2035, the ban on the sale of new gasoline or diesel cars.