Julian Bell in Heated Exchange with GB News Presenter

Former Ealing Council leader clashes with Beverley Turner over LTNs

The former Labour leader called the presenter's views 'slightly hysterical'
The former Labour leader called the presenter's views 'slightly hysterical'

February 23, 2023

The former leader of Ealing Council, Julian Bell, has clashed with GB News presenter Beverley Turner during an interview about Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

The man who introduced a programme of traffic restrictions across the borough before most were removed by his successor was invited onto the Laurence Fox show to discuss the issue of the continuing furore about active travel measures across the country.

With the controversial actor away, the show on the right-leaning TV station was hosted by Beverley Turner. She acknowledged that Mr Bell had shown courage in agreeing to appear on the programme but, after she completed a monologue about why she felt what she described as the ‘war on motorists’ was actually a war on women and children, she described him as the man who had been responsible for putting up lots of wooden road blocks adding ‘Let me guess. You’re a cyclist.”

The Acton resident responded by saying that while he did ride a bike sometimes, he also used public transport and walked as well as regularly driving his granddaughter to ballet classes.

He added, “If I can be bold as to say that was a slightly hysterical reaction to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods that you’ve given.”

Ms Turner responded by saying, “Let me tell you why I am hysterical about this. This is falling predominantly on women, young families, teenagers, kids. The only people who feel safe cycling more often than getting in a car are generally blokes. Older blokes who like to cycle who don’t have the paraphernalia of real life. Surely you understand why so many people like me are exasperated?”

Mr Bell countered that he did understand the challenges people with young children faced but added, “we do have to reassess our relationship with the car.” He stated that 30% of car journeys are of a distance that could be cycled or walked and that people needed to consider the broader impact of their chosen mode of travel.

Ms Turner said that rather than asking people to reassess their relationship with cars, he was asking young children to reassess their relationship with freedom and that the measures challenged the ability of parents to get their offspring away from screens.

She added that she lived in west London and had a brother who was a resident of one of the areas in which Julian Bell’s administration installed an LTN which she described as being a nightmare when it was operating.

She pressed him by saying, “When you say you have solutions, what does that look like at seven o’clock trying to get down the A4 to Brentford Leisure Centre. How do I do that?”

When he said that journeys that don’t need to be made in cars should be made by other means she countered, “ I know I don’t have to, but I want to. The car is a radical symbol of individuality and freedom and it is disgusting that people like me who want to take our families to activities are being told to walk at 6 o’clock on a rainy pitch black Wednesday night when it is hard enough to get the kids to go to swimming club anyway.”

She claimed that the netball club her children attend in Osterley is in danger of folding because parents are finding it more difficult to get there due to LTNs across west London forcing traffic onto arterial roads.

He then accused her of over-reacting ‘to put it mildly’ and disputed that LTNs caused congestion by displacing traffic claiming that the evidence showed that it led to dramatic reductions within LTNs and limited increases on boundary roads.

Ms Turner concluded the interview by thanking Mr Bell and once again acknowledging his bravery for coming on the show and suggesting, as they lived close by they could meet up for coffee and discuss the issues face-to-face.

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