As thousands of people return to work under new government guidance, it's more important than ever that people have the opportunity to commute by bicycle if they wish to avoid public transport. Along with my colleagues – Sarah Olney MP, Cllr Caroline Kerr and Cllr Gareth Roberts – I've called for Richmond Park to be reopened to commuter cyclists.
Richmond Park is a prime route into central London for many people in the constituency and reopening it would significantly cut travel times, reduce congestion on surrounding roads and, by making the journey more pleasant, encourage even more commuters to take up cycling. It would also ease the pressure on our public transport and help more people in social distancing when commuting.
Our joint letter to the Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, which manages the Richmond Park, asks for them to reopen the park to commuter cyclists as soon as possible. Scroll down to read the full letter.
Reopen Richmond Park to commuter cyclists
To: Andrew Scattergood
The Royal Parks
Under new government guidance, those who cannot work from home are now expected to go to work, but to avoid public transport. Many people in the areas we represent and across South West London and Surrey rely on Richmond Park as an artery for cycling into Central London. The Government has rightly focused on alternatives to public transport; however this has had the effect of forcing people in our area either use their cars or cycle on the road network putting them at greater danger of conflict with cars and other motor vehicles.
One of the very few positives of the current situation has been the reduction in air pollution across our capital city. We are deeply concerned that the effect of people going back to work by car will reverse some of this vital progress.
The Royal Parks have an essential role to play in keeping our air clean by providing an alternative to crowded public transport for residents in Kingston and Richmond. Whilst we understand the concerns around groups of cyclists in the park not adhering to social distancing, we feel the potential impact on our public transport network and air quality necessitate a change in approach at this point in the lockdown.
We urge you to reopen Richmond Park to commuter cyclists, so that we may continue to benefit from cleaner air and protect workers from unnecessary risk on our public transport network.
Ed Davey MP
MP for Kingston & Surbiton constituency
Sarah Olney MP
MP for Richmond Park constituency
Cllr Caroline Kerr
Leader of Kingston upon Thames Council
Cllr Gareth Roberts
Leader of Richmond upon Thames Council