COUNCILLORS have voted in favour of scrapping the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in a controversial meeting this morning.

Labour and Conservative members of Brighton and Hove City Council voted to axe the temporary cycle lane.

The vote comes after the government threatened to withhold more than £270,000 in funding and called for similar schemes to be given enough time to be tested under normal traffic conditions.

The decision was met with chants of "Greens out" from motorists who were opposed to the cycle lane.

Speaking after the meeting, motorist Laura King told The Argus: “This is the first step of things that need to be done - businesses in Kingsway are dying as they are losing their parking spaces to cycle lanes.”

She described the council’s actions to tackle climate change as “posturing” and said: “Brighton and Hove is not solely responsible for climate change and, if the council wants to make a real difference, they should start with the recycling service.”

Green Councillor Amy Heley voted to keep the lanes in place. She said she was furious over the decision.

"It's a disgrace - no one is listening to the voices of young people," she added.

Cllr Heley said the Greens would return with new plans as part of their efforts to combat climate change.

Climate protester Chris Williams said: "It is a big mistake to get rid of the cycle lane.

"It will cost the city lots of money and make the roads less safe.

"We need a network across the city and that can't happen without this cycle lane.

"The message that Labour is sending by opposing the lane is they are not going with the science, but going with opinion."

The Argus: Environmental activists expressed disappointment at the council's decisionEnvironmental activists expressed disappointment at the council's decision

Mr Williams expressed his disappointment for those using the lane for travelling to work and school, and added the debate over the cycle lane had become unnecessarily politicised.

“Cycling is a form of transport, leisure and sport and we want it to be accessible for everyone.”

Gary Wilkinson, Labour councillor and opposition spokesperson on environment, transport and sustainability, said he hoped that councillors and the city can move on and unite following the decision.

“Labour are determined to tackle climate change - that’s why we declared a climate emergency, support 20 minute neighbourhoods and support a car-free city centre.

“We cannot proceed with such projects without the support of our communities and councils are obliged to act democratically.

“We stand steadfast to uphold local democracy and the wishes of the people consulted.”

The Argus: Motorists gathered outside Hove Town Hall to celebrate the voteMotorists gathered outside Hove Town Hall to celebrate the vote

He added that the government’s transport minister had said that councils are under no obligation to keep schemes that have been proven not to work.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth, who backed the cycle lane’s removal, hoped that councillors and campaigners would give consultation greater consideration in future schemes.

“The cycling cause is damaged when the council uses the great resources that are at its disposal to bully and cajole,” he said.

The decision by the council follows a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned of a “code red for humanity”, with some effects from the climate crisis now irreversible.

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