Chris Boardman criticises school for scrapping cycle rack

The old bike rack, which has been replaced by the school Pic: @HackneyCyclist

Three time Tour de France yellow jersey wearing cyclist Chris Boardman has denounced a Hackney school on Twitter after they replaced bicycle racks with three car parking spaces.

Hackney New School, which is part of an academy trust, was deemed to have breached its planning permission after a former professional cyclist expressed his anger.

Boardman, MBE, who founded the eponymous Boardman bike brand, took to Twitter following the revelation that Hackney New Primary School had replaced some of its bike parking rack space for pupils with three car parking spaces.

Boardman said on Twitter: “I make that 15 bikes removed to make space for three cars. Well done.”

He became aware of the issue following a post by HackneyCyclist, a twitter account dedicated to making Hackney more cycling friendly. The account posted before and after photos of the space, showing the difference in capacity for bikes and cars.

3 cars in a parking space
The new car parking spaces (PIC: @HackneyCyclist)

Cars and other vehicles are the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK. A recent study showed that 26% of greenhouse gases emitted come from transport, the main sources of which are diesel and petrol cars. The second largest emitter is the energy industry.

The UK has committed to reducing its emissions, and cutting down on car use, particularly the use of petrol and diesel cars, is a key factor in reducing the production of harmful gases.

By replacing bike storage area with car parking spaces, Hackney New Primary School has caused a stir amongst those who believe institutions should be encouraging cycling over driving.

Labour Councillor Jon Burke, cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm, was quick to react to these claims. He said on Twitter: “Further to my investigations, the parking of cars on the Downham Road frontage appears to be in breach of the school’s planning condition. Planning Enforcement will now progress with enforcement.”

This move reinforces Hackney Council’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and taking the climate emergency seriously.

Charlotte Whelan, the headteacher of the school, said in a statement that they “will work with the council to ensure any issues are quickly rectified. A sign has also been put up to discourage unauthorised motorists.”

“Our students are encouraged to make health conscious lifestyle choices including cycling or walking to school. We currently have over 100 cycle racks available to students which are close to full most school days.”

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