The country’s first ever cycle counters are to be scrapped – just two and a half years after the £50,000 units were installed.

Thanks to a European Union grant, Brighton and Hove was the first city in the UK to introduce the equipment in May 2010.

Transport bosses claimed it would help them better understand levels of cycling and develop new policies for the city.

However, both counters have repeatedly been out of action after “mindless” vandals damaged them.

The Argus can now reveal the local authority has admitted it cannot afford to keep the counters running when EU funding expires. They will be removed in the coming months.

'Meaningful changes'

Councillor Ian Davey, chairman of the council’s transport committee, said the counters had been installed under the previous Conservative-run council.

He said: “This Green administration prefers to concentrate on meaningful infrastructure changes that make it safer and easier for people who want to cycle to get about the city – such as the new cycle lane on the Old Shoreham Road and our proposals for the Lewes Road.

“Due to the ongoing costs for the cycle counter project we don’t intend on continuing with it once the European funding has come to an end.”

The giant display units were installed near Surrenden Park in London Road and near Moulsecoomb Library in Lewes Road, Brighton.

The funding came from CiViTas - a European organisation that supports innovative and experimental transport measures.

An LED display updates every time a cyclist passes, saying “You are cyclist number xxx today, out of a total of xxx cyclists this year, on this path”.

Waste of money

Conservative councillor Graham Cox said the decision seemed sensible.

He said: “It does seem like a huge amount of money for collecting information the council could have just as easily got by carrying out a traffic count.

“It does say quite a lot about the European Union – we send a lot of money to Brussels and in return we get cycle counters.”

The Argus has repeatedly asked for figures on how many days the counters have been working.

However the local authority has not produced the information.

A council spokeswoman said: “There has been an ongoing issue with vandalism of the counters and the council has spent £1,600 on maintenance and repairs.

“The results of the trial will be fed back to the European Commission as part of the evaluation of the wider project but the council will not be investing any further money into this initiative.”

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