Posted: 15.12.21 at 13:40 by Ellie Brown
ENVIRONMENT Secretary George Eustice MP has criticised a traffic reduction trial in Teddington's Bushy Park, stating that he would "prefer to see the park re-opened."
The Conservative MP said closing the roads in the park to traffic has "increased congestion and associated problems around surrounding roads" and expressed his scepticism of the scheme.
But he agreed that the decision is in the hands of The Royal Parks, the charity which manages Bushy Park.
Mr Eustice, who lives not far from Bushy Park, made the comments in an email to a local resident.
The email was reported on by local news station Radio Jackie this morning.
A spokesperson for the Royal Parks defended the scheme.
They told Radio Jackie: "Bushy Park provides a valuable, natural landscape which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest status and we aim to ensure the park is resilient in the face of increasing pressures from climate change.
"By reducing cut-through motor traffic we will help protect this precious environment and we will enable increasing numbers of visitors to enjoy engaging in the natural environment and walking and cycling in the parks safely and peacefully, now and into the future."
They added: "Parks such as Bushy Park play a crucial role in boosting the physical and mental wellbeing of city dwellers who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle for a breath of fresh air, and to boost their physical and mental wellbeing by enjoying the wonderful wildlife and landscapes."
A traffic reduction trial was introduced to Bushy Park by the Royal Parks last year.
The trial saw the full-time closure of part of Chestnut Avenue between Teddington and Hampton Court Gates to motor vehicles.
Instead, the nature reserve can only be used by vehicles which are parking, and not as a through-road or 'rat run' when Hampton Court Road has traffic jams.
The trial initially lasted six months but was extended for another 12 months earlier this year.
Next year, March 2022, it will be reviewed again and possibly made permanent.
A similar traffic reduction trial is also taking place in Richmond Park but this saw through-traffic restricted rather than eliminated altogether.
You can read more about the schemes on the Royal Parks website
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