Covid gridlock 'puts 999 patients in peril'

Road closures brought in during the pandemic are causing gridlock and leading to life-threatening delays for the emergency services, campaigners claim.

Councils are using emergency coronavirus cash to rush through the ‘green’ measures, an audit of local road schemes suggests.

Under the projects brought in to aid social distancing and encourage walking and cycling, portions of road are being turned over to pedestrians and bikes – and in some cases, closed off altogether.

Blocked by bollards: Ambulance in Ealing, west London. Road closures brought in during the pandemic are causing gridlock and leading to life-threatening delays for the emergency services, campaigners claim

Blocked by bollards: Ambulance in Ealing, west London. Road closures brought in during the pandemic are causing gridlock and leading to life-threatening delays for the emergency services, campaigners claim

The Mail carried out a snapshot survey of 30 local authorities and found all have introduced schemes that have an impact on traffic in the past four months.

Analysis of data from satnav makers TomTom also reveals rush-hour congestion was worse than normal in 19 of 25 towns and cities on Thursday morning. 

The rash of new restrictions has also led to life-threatening delays in reaching heart attack and stroke patients, according to the College of Paramedics.

In May, councils were handed £250million for ‘green’ schemes to promote social distancing and to encourage walking and cycling in the wake of lockdown.

Supporters say the measures have cut air pollution, led to a rise in physical activity and attracted strong local support.

But campaigners claim draconian measures are being rushed through, bringing chaos to the roads at a time when many are shunning public transport in favour of their cars over Covid fears.

Department for Transport figures show traffic volumes were at 97 per cent of normal levels on Monday, September 13, compared with 36 per cent for trains.

Chaos: Traffic chokes a road in King¿s Cross, London, as bollards mark a new cycle lane

Chaos: Traffic chokes a road in King’s Cross, London, as bollards mark a new cycle lane

In a letter seen by the Mail, the AA has warned Transport Secretary Grant Shapps the combination of high traffic levels and anti-car schemes has made congestion and pollution worse in some areas.

The motoring organisation’s president Edmund King has asked the minister to rethink the schemes so local people and emergency services are properly consulted.

In his letter, he wrote: ‘Some schemes are regrettably adding to congestion and poorer air quality rather than improving them.

‘As you know, governments at all levels

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