You might expect the air to be cleaner and grass to be greener inside Regent’s Park gates, but despite their environmental objectives, The Royal Parks (TRP) refuses to address safety and pollution concerns by reducing unnecessary through-traffic.

Having chaired The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill Safer Parks panel for a number of years, I have seen the vast majority of police resources being spent managing these traffic issues, principally unauthorised trade vehicles and speeding cars using the Outer Circle as a cut-through.

Damage caused by this unnecessary traffic is not limited to just air quality and safety: two bridges are now in urgent need of expensive repair. These bridges are old and are simply not designed for the volume and weight of traffic that they now carry.

One of two bridges in question is Macclesfield Bridge, which is used by traffic going between Avenue Road and the Outer Circle.

Ham & High: Justin Mckie is concerned about the damage being done to The Regent's Park by through trafficJustin Mckie is concerned about the damage being done to The Regent's Park by through traffic (Image: Justin McKie)

It’s a key route for vehicles commuting into and out of London and typically sees traffic backed up, waiting at the junction during rush hour. In the evenings, this includes a line of heavy vehicles sat idling, inside the park perimeter, on the crumbling bridge.

There is a simple, cheap and elegant solution to these important park issues: simply open this single gate at 9.30am rather than 7am and close it again before the evening rush hour.

Traffic can continue to access the park with very few restrictions, but this gate would see a significant reduction in morning/evening rush hour volume and lead to fewer vehicles racing through the park. It would improve the environment for park users, including those that want to use greener forms of transport such as walking or cycling.

Previous discussions regarding gate opening restrictions have been scuppered by the Crown Estate Paving Commission (CEPC), which is tasked with opening/closing the gates. The CEPC appears to be only accountable to a handful of car-driving residents and will simply not engage with other park users. 

The Royal Parks have been successfully making changes that protect and conserve their other parks; it is time that they reduce pollution and encourage sport and recreation in Regent’s Park. 

Justin McKie is an amateur cyclist and multiple national and European veterans cycling champion.