Friar Gate Cycle Lanes are Misrepresented by DEFRA

OBJECT again to the removal of the Friar Gate cycle lane as part of Derby’s Clean Air Strategy.

DEFRA have replied to some of the correspondence from objectors to the removal of the cycle lane on Friar Gate. Derby Cycling Group wonders where they have got their information from; they speak of “local knowledge being crucial in solving pollution problems”. Here are some examples of their replies:

  • The cycle lane on Friar Gate is “a very short section of bus lane which is also used by confident cyclists.”
    • There are several untruths about that statement:
      • The cycle lane is a cycle lane as well as a bus lane!
      • It is used by all sorts of cyclists
    • The cycle lane may be “very short” but it is a crucial safety element on this piece of  road for cyclists. Size isn’t everything!
    • Is it alright to have dead or injured cyclists so long as they are confident ones?
  • Regarding the off-road path alongside Friar Gate, DEFRA say that it is OK to remove the on-road cycle lane because the off-road path is a suitable alternative. Quote “The NCN routes 54 and 68 already use a diversion to take cyclists past this junction to link directly to the existing off road cycle route on Friar Gate”
    • They are correct it is a “diversion” but good cycle routes follow continuous and direct routes, not diversions.
    • DfT standards say that cycle routes should be direct and continuous.
    • The Friar Gate off road cycle path has many faults:
      • It is of very poor quality by any standards, and especially measured against the forthcoming revised DfT standards
      • It is only useable by people travelling in a specific direction (it does not cater for people travelling along Ashbourne Road into town)
      • It is fraught with hazards:
        • Very narrow in many places with tree roots making a surface which can be dangerous
        • Cyclists have no right of way at side roads, which poses its own risks
        • There are severe cobbled sections which are rough and are slippery in the wet
      • It is slow and indirect:
        • Cyclists have to cross moving traffic on Friar Gate to get onto the cycle path
        • It only runs for 1/3 of the length of Friar Gate.
        • Cyclists then have to negotiate three sets of traffic lights before they have to cross the street again to rejoin the road at the Stafford Street junction
    • By contrast the on-road cycle route:
      • Is direct and continuous over the full length of Friar Gate
      • Provides rights of way over traffic emerging from side roads and driveways
      • Is made safe by the provision of that short length of cycle lane, as well as the cycle/bus/taxi-only section of road from Bridge Street to The Warwick
  • DEFRA say there was overwhelming support for this traffic management approach during public consultation – but:
    • That was only for the traffic management option over the two clean air charging zone options (what a choice!)
    • In the Preferred Option consultation (Section 4, page 6)
      • The majority of respondents (42.9%) said that they strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option addresses roadside NO2 in the shortest possible time.”
      • The majority of respondents (44.4%) strongly disagree/ disagree that the preferred option maximises benefits and minimises costs for the Government.”
    • They say there has been considerable engagement with local cycling groups, but omit to say that Derby Cycling Group emphatically opposes the removal of the cycle lane.
    • The Derby City Council Full Business Case does not mention the removal of this cycle lane and does not mention the many cycling-supportive responses in the consultation documents (refer to the article “Friar Gate Cycle Lanes Misrepresented by Derby City Council”).

DEFRA have commented:

  • “This government is committed to increasing cycling and walking and making our roads safer for vulnerable users”.
    • In a contest to choose the best cycle route into town along Friar Gate run by a government committed to making roads safer for vulnerable users, the on-road cycle lane would win hands down.
    • Why? Because removing it makes the road more dangerous for the most vulnerable on-road users – cyclists.

Write NOW to DEFRA   and copy the minister for Air Quality:

Write to Michael Gove and Therese Coffey to urge that Friar Gate cycle lanes are retained.

Friar Gate Cycle Lanes – Write to Michael Gove & Therese Coffey

Derby City Council have submitted their outline business case for their clean air strategy to the Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – and it still includes the removal of cycle lanes on Friar Gate as part of the plan. DEFRA are reviewing the outline business case right now.
Derby Cycling Group have asked DEFRA to reject that part of the outline business case which relates to removal of cycle lanes and asked that all existing cycling and walking infrastructure be retained or improved, but not removed. (Open Letter to Michael Gove)

Can you please help to put pressure on DEFRA to accept our arguments by writing to Michael Gove, Therese Coffey, two other influential government ministers and Derby’s MPs.
It is best if you can write a letter or e-mail in your own words, however you can use the template below as a guide.   If you use the template, add your own words at the beginning to say why you want the cycle facilities on Friar Gate to be retained.
Write to:
Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Therese Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA with responsibility for air qualilty)
Courtesy Copy:
Jesse Norman (Minister of State at the Dept for Transport with responsibility for cycling)
Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
     Derby MPs:
Chris Williamson (in whose constituency the cycle facilities lie)
Margaret Beckett
Remember that if this space is lost for cycling, it will be lost for ever.
Please do all you can to help keep it.
Thank you.
Right turn protected space in forground; safe haven approach to cycle/bus lane in right hand lane.

….. Letter Template…..

Send e-mails to the departmental addresses, marked “For Attention Of” or “FAO” :

Michael Gove (DEFRA leader)  

Therese Coffey (DEFRA, air quality)

Jesse Norman (DfT responsibility for cycling)

Matt Hancock (Health and Social Services) upload letter via:

Send postal letters to the MPs above at

House of Commons



Dear Mr Gove and Dr Coffey,

I urge you to reject Derby City Council’s proposal to remove important cycle-safety infrastructure on Friar Gate as part of the city’s Clean Air Proposal because ….

<add your own text here, this is important for your letter to be taken more seriously>

I agree with Derby Cycling Group’s assessment that:

  • The removal of a cycle lane on Friar Gate to create two motor vehicle lanes as part of Derby’s clean air proposal is totally unacceptable.
  • The cycle lane is present because it provides a safe haven for cyclists to access a bike-and-buses-only section of street; if it is removed cyclists will have to ride into a faster lane of traffic to gain access to it, at greater personal risk.
  • The removal of protected space will make it more dangerous for cyclists wishing to turn right into Vernon St.
  • Cycling is a very clean form of transport and must not be penalised by a project which purports to improve air quality. Fewer people will cycle on Friar Gate if the cycle lane is removed, which is an unbelievably bad ambition for a clean air strategy. It is perverse to make cycling less easy and more dangerous as part of a project which has the objective of making air cleaner.
  • It is also perverse to make it easier for more motor vehicles to use Friar Gate as part of a project to make air cleaner; emissions are bound to rise which is another poor deliverable from this ill-conceived clean air proposal.
  • The plan to remove cycle infrastructure runs against much government and local policy (the governments Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, the DfT’s Cycle Proofing working group; Derby’s fledgling Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, City Council-run Cycle Derby’s local initiatives to promote cycle transport, especially to children).
  • The cycling facilities on Friar Gate and the roads leading to it must be improved so that more people can use them, which would really help to reduce emissions.
  • MORE cycling and walking should be a cornerstone of Derby’s clean air strategy and it must certainly NOT make cycling or walking worse or more dangerous.
  • The City Council have suggested that cyclists should use an off-road cycle path on the opposite side of Friar Gate to avoid the road danger, but the off-road path is:
    • Very poor quality
    • Cannot be accessed safely because access requires a right turn off Friar Gate
    • Does not go all the way into the city centre
    • An inconvenient, discontinuous and devious route – we already have a convenient, safe, direct, and complete route which needs to be retained or further enhanced.
  • This will increase the severance of the communities on either side of what will now be four lanes of motorised traffic.
  • There are strong objections to this proposal from local residents as well as professionals inside and outside the council.
  • This proposal would not pass a fair safety audit.

Yours sincerely,

<your name>

<if by e-mail, your address or at least post code>

Media Coverage of Stripping away our safety protest

Great media coverage for the protest on Friargate objecting to Derby City Council’s ridiculous approach to improving air quality by removing cycling infrastructure.

Derby Telegraph gave some publicity for the event the day before and then reported on the actual event a week or so later – see here (and ignore the normal moronic comments which are nothing to do with the subject matter of the article.

Coverage on the BBC web site.

Saturday”s East Midlands Today news round up led with the protest. A clip of the program can be seen here (you might need to download this file and then open an appropriate video playing app on your computer – about 50MB to download).

National coverage from the news website.

Lots of photos to be seen on the Derby Cycling Group Facebook page.

Twitter included a lot of coverage including tweets from Chris Williamson MP and Councillors Martin Rawson and Nadine Peatfield

Excellent work by all the organisers.

Keep the Friar Gate Cycle Lane

The safety of vulnerable road users must be paramount

This cycle/bus/taxi lane on Friar Gate is to be removed by Derby City Council and turned into a second, faster, lane for cars and lorries as part of their Air Quality Preferred Option.

These changes will increase the risk to cyclists using this route into Derby and that is not acceptable.
Derby Cycling Group objects to these proposals in the strongest possible terms.
Please help us to keep this cycle lane and the right-turn protected space in front of the traffic island,

and this right turn facility which is also to be removed,

E-mail or write to the local councillors to object to the removal of these cycle facilities:

Please write before 15th February, 2019.

The councillors below represent the two wards where the facilities are located. They do not necessarily support the removal of the cycling facilities.

Mackworth Ward:
                Diane Froggatt:        
                Adrian Pegg:            
                Paul Pegg:               

Darley Ward:
                Lisa Eldret               
                Martin Repton         
                Jack Stanton           

Please also contact the council cabinet members most involved with decisions regarding Derby’s clean air proposals
Council Leader Chris Poulter
Deputy Council Leader Matthew Holmes

Full contact details for all councillors are on the council website: Derby City Councillors

If you use either of these facilities, then please tell the councillors why it’s important for them to be retained or, even better, improved and tell them why NO highways scheme should make cycling (or walking) infrastructure worse and more dangerous.

If these facilities are not in your area, think that your local cycle path or lane could be next to go. Please inform your local councillors, or the councillors above, that you think they should be retained and why. 

Some of Derby Cycling Group’s opinions:

  • We believe facilities like these should either remain unchanged or be upgraded to something better, but not removed.
  • The cycle/bus lane is a “safe haven” for getting access to the cycle/bus “gate” onto lower Friar Gate, it enables many people to cycle along here into the city centre.
    • Removing the cycle lane will make the road more dangerous for cyclists. The changes will force cyclists to ride into the outside lane, into faster traffic, to get onto the lower Friar Gate cycle lane.
    • We are concerned that a road safety audit would be critical of the revised road layout.
    • At the very least it will make this manoeuvre feel dangerous and many people will simply stop cycling here.
  • The facility opposite Brick Street is poorly designed, but it is used. This was witnessed by DCG on a site visit with council officers. A better alternative should be installed instead of removing it altogether.
  • Derby’s clean air strategy must encourage more cycling and walking; the council’s proposal will reduce active travel by removing infrastructure which supports it.
  • More cycling and walking are the best way to reduce pollution and congestion. This is recognised both by the council, Public Health England and DEfRA.

Derby Cycling Group has proposed improvements to the city council’s Air Quality Preferred Option to make it better for cyclists and pedestrians: Clean Air Preferred Option – DCG Response

We had a lengthy site visit with the air quality team to view and discuss our suggestions and to talk about other options. We have heard nothing about the proposal since the visit, so we assume nothing has changed.

We have asked that a road safety audit of the scheme be conducted and for the findings of the audit to be made public.

We have asked if any of the discussed changes will be adopted into the clean air proposals, but have not been told anything. We have not been told if a road safety audit of the scheme has been carried out or not.

Please help to keep these important features in our cycle network.

Please look out for further action and campaigning by Derby cycling Group on this issue.

Stripping away our Safety

Derby City Council are planning on degrading and removing cycling infrastructure on Friargate between Brick St and Bridge St.

The plans will see the removal of a bus/ cycle lane to create space for two lanes of cars.

The plans will increase the number of cars, increase pollution and increase the danger to road cyclists.

We want you to join us at this protest. Bring a bike, a placard, an instrument or just yourself.

We are going to organise bike rides around the infrastructure and have invited local councillors to join us.

We want to inform the public of these dangerous changes that will strip away our safety. Protest starts at 11am and at 11:30 members of the group’s committee and anyone else who wants to join us will strip down to their underwear in protest. Protest likely to end around 12 noon.

Surprisingly the media will also be invited. Meet before 11am on Saturday 16th Feb at junction of Friar Gate and Vernon Street.

The council’s plans are unacceptable and dangerous.

Campaigning for cycle provision in Derby since 1979