Rishi Sunak has said he is “slamming the brakes on the war on motorists” – with the government confirming that councils will be stopped from enforcing blanket 20mph speed limits.
Low-traffic neighbourhoods are also in the prime minister’s crosshairs and will only be permitted where there is local consent.
The Department for Transport added that it plans to stop council implementing so-called “15-minute cities” amid fears they “aggressively restrict where people can drive”.
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Speaking to The Sun, Mr Sunak described such schemes as “hare-brained” – and claimed penalising drivers going about their daily lives “doesn’t reflect the values of Britain”.
The PM’s announcement comes as the Conservative Party conference gets under way this weekend in Manchester.
Mr Sunak will be hoping to capitalise on the advantage he gained during the Uxbridge by-election, where London’s controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone was a key issue on the doorstep.
In an announcement, the government said its new long-term government plan aims to support the 50 million people who hold a driving licence in the UK.
Other measures will include efforts to simplify paying for parking by phone, charging utility firms that dig up busy roads at peak times, and a consultation on motorcycles using bus lanes.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Too often the private car is vilified when it has been one of the most powerful forces for personal freedom and economic growth.
“That’s why the government is taking the long-term, necessary decision to back the motorists who keep our country moving.”
Mr Harper, who will set out further details in a speech to Tory members on Monday, said this plan will complement “continued investment in public transport”.
It comes hot on the heels of the PM delaying a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars until 2035 – a target that was previously intended for 2030.
The announcement of that policy had been dismissed as “an act of weakness from a desperate, directionless prime minister” by Labour.