London's roads clog up today as commuters head back to the office

Britain's rush hour started to get back to normal again today as the return to work following the coronavirus lockdown was stepped up - with more than 370 jams totalling 200 miles across London during rush hour.

Congestion levels on the roads in the capital were at 36 per cent at 8am today according to TomTom data, up from 31 per cent this time last week - which is a rise of five percentage points or 16 per cent (a sixth).

However, traffic congestion in London is still well below the average level of 67 per cent last year. Elsewhere, the figure in Birmingham was at 23 per cent at 8am, which was down from 25 per cent at the same time last week.

Meanwhile major train stations in the capital still appeared to be empty, with photographs taken during rush hour at the London terminals of Victoria, Waterloo and King's Cross showing hardly anyone on the concourse.

It comes as the school run returned with millions of children returning to classrooms this week - many for the first time in almost six months. Forty per cent of schools in England are opening today, with the rest later this week. 

A London-based Twitter user posted this picture at about 8.30am today, saying: 'Looks like everyone’s back to work then!'

A London-based Twitter user posted this picture at about 8.30am today, saying: 'Looks like everyone’s back to work then!'

Congestion levels on the roads in London were at 36 per cent at 8am today according to TomTom data (red line) , up from 31 per cent this time last week (red dotted line) – but still well below the average level of 67 per cent last year (blue line)

Congestion levels on the roads in London were at 36 per cent at 8am today according to TomTom data (red line) , up from 31 per cent this time last week (red dotted line) – but still well below the average level of 67 per cent last year (blue line)

A Google Traffic map shows how many roads around the capital were busy at 8.30am this morning as people go to work

A Google Traffic map shows how many roads around the capital were busy at 8.30am this morning as people go to work

City workers cross London Bridge at 8.30am this morning as many commuters head back to work in the capital today

City workers cross London Bridge at 8.30am this morning as many commuters head back to work in the capital today

One Twitter user posted a photograph of commuters queuing at London Bridge Underground station at 7.51am this morning

One Twitter user posted a photograph of commuters queuing at London Bridge Underground station at 7.51am this morning

A Twitter user's image of a busy London Overground train today, saying there were '11 people crammed in by the doors'

A Twitter user's image of a busy London Overground train today, saying there were '11 people crammed in by the doors'

A string of top firms across the country revealed their staff were pouring back into the office, with others saying they are considering plans to lure workers from their homes.

In a significant boost to the campaign to entice more office workers into city centres, many companies said they had recorded an uptick in employees getting back to their desks.

But Boris Johnson's drive to get Whitehall back to work suffered a fresh blow as the head of the civil servants' union threatened strikes if members were forced back to work before it is deemed safe.

'I'm SCARED and so are the students': New teacher on his first day tells of fear at 'no PPE' in school where 'social-distancing is impossible' as millions of pupils in England and Wales return

Adam Woodward, 23, a Labour supporter who is starting teaching English at a college in Barnsley today, tweeted: 'I am scared and so are the students'

Adam Woodward, 23, a Labour supporter who is starting teaching English at a college in Barnsley today, tweeted: 'I am scared and so are the students'

A newly-qualified teacher today revealed his fear at being back in school with no personal protective equipment on his first day in the job as millions of children in England and Wales returned to classes from the Covid-19 lockdown for the first time in six months.

Labour supporter Adam Woodward, 23, who is starting teaching at Horizon Community College in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, tweeted: 'I'm about to begin my career as an NQT (newly qualified teacher) English teacher.

'I will be teaching with no PPE, in an environment where social distancing is impossible. I am scared and so are the students. This Government has failed me and every child in every school. Shame on them.'

 

The Sheffield Hallam University graduate wrote about his fears as he posted a selfie of himself in a mask on a Northern Rail train this morning, while a study revealed pupils are three months behind since lockdown with boys and the poorer students hardest hit.

Government guidance states there is no general need for children to wear masks in schools, while the college's rules state that any pupils who arrive wearing face coverings must take it off at the entrance. 

In a crucial moment for Boris Johnson's drive to get the country back to 'normal', around 40 per cent of schools in England open today - with the rest later in the week. 

They were shut by the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, with only vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers allowed to continue classes. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson's fate is also on the line, after he was seen as bungling efforts to get more primary students back before the summer holidays. 

Advertisement

Following a lockdown in which more than 95 per cent of civil servants worked from home, each Government department was asked in July to set rolling targets for the return.

Mr Johnson is expected to tell ministers to

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Ministers fear Chris Whitty 'could quit over back to work drive'
NEXT Four Navy aircrew parachute to safety moments before E-2C Hawkeye plane crashes ...