oad closures designed to reduce Traffic in several royal parks must be made permanent, it was announced on Tuesday.
Experimental schemes that were introduced in Richmond Park, Greenwich Park and Bushy Park in August 2020 is to be retained after winning public support, said the Royal Parks charity, which runs the parks.
The Saturday closures of The Mall and Constitution Hill – making the ceremonial route next to Buckingham Palace traffic-free for the weekend – will also be maintained, but more research will be carried out ahead of a decision on whether to make this permanent.
Similarly, the Saturday closure of South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park will continue pending a decision by Transport for London on whether to retain the Park Lane cycle lane.
However, motorists will continue to be able to drive through part of Richmond Park – the Kingston Gate to Richmond Gate route on the west side of the park – seven days a week, despite the concerns of cycling campaigners.
This route had been closed for around six weeks at the start of the first closure, but had reopened and was not part of the trial road closure.
The Richmond Gate to Roehampton Gate route will continue to be closed at weekends but will remain open on weekdays.
The ban on through traffic between Broomfield Hill car park and Robin Hood car park on the south side of the park will be maintained, as will the closure of the vehicular link between Sheen Gate and Sheen Cross on the north side.
Simon Munk, of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “We absolutely welcome the news. But Richmond Park should be closed to all through motor traffic.
“Using one side of Richmond Park as a relief road for the A307 in a climate crisis is completely inappropriate.”
The changes at Richmond Park were each supported by between 69 percent and 73 percent of the respondents to the consultation, which attracted more than 10,000 responses.
Almost half of those who made additional comments called for a total ban on through traffic in the park.
The second biggest concern came from residents who said the trial had resulted in extra traffic on their streets – with the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to vehicles also due.
Others expressed alarm at the “dangerous interaction” between cyclists and other park users.
The consultation report said: “The majority of these comments emphasize that speeding cyclists – particularly sports cyclists – create an unsafe environment in the park, particularly for pedestrians.
“The dangerous interaction between cyclists and other park users was referenced by both those who generally support the proposal and those who do not, and some respondents believe that this problem has worsened since the closures came into effect.
“There were also a large number of comments suggesting that there should be restrictions on cyclists. This included the installation of speed bumps, timed cycling restrictions and the creation of cycle lanes.”
In Greenwich Park, the Avenue will remain permanently closed to vehicles.
In Bushy Park, Chestnut Avenue will remain permanently closed to vehicles between Teddington and Hampton Court Gates.
The trials did not involve Regent’s Park, where there are long-standing concerns about the number of vehicles on the Outer Circle.
Royal Parks said its decision followed a “comprehensive park visitor engagement exercise” and detailed traffic analysis. It said a majority of people who responded to a consultation supported the closures.
Tom Jarvis, its director of parks, said: “As custodians of some of London’s finest green spaces, we are delighted to announce that the successful attempts to reduce cut-through traffic in our outer parks will be made permanent. The decision is a important part of ensuring The Royal Parks delivers on its charitable items.
“We look forward to engaging with our stakeholders and the local communities to see how we can reuse the available spaces now that certain roads are permanently closed to vehicles.”