Dear Editor,

Royston Smith MP says that the cycle lanes didn’t encourage a ‘single driver out of their car’ and were a ‘waste of money’, but given the seriousness of the climate crisis, what measures would he propose to encourage a shift to sustainable transport?

His comments are perhaps unsurprising for an MP who has ‘consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change’, but what does he consider a bigger waste of money: grant funding from the government to explore alternative forms of transport, or the £616 (ref) annually lost to congestion per Southampton driver?

The fact is that cars produce an enormous amount of deadweight loss, whether that’s the unproductive space they take up, their environmental harm, the fact that they encourage sedentary lifestyles - and they are just inefficient as a means of transportation. People complain about empty cycle lanes, but a bicycle takes up fifteen times less space than a car, and research has found that cycling is often quicker than driving in rush hour across major UK cities.

And when we take into account the improved happiness and fitness that can result from cycling - saving the NHS countless billions - it is obvious that we need proactive thinking to rethink city space, not regressive statements from public officials such as Mr Smith whose claim to represent our interests is tenuous at best.

Jude Wilkinson, Winchester