London gridlocked with 1,200 miles of traffic jams as thousands flee ahead of lockdown

  • london
  • November 4, 2020
  • Comments Off on London gridlocked with 1,200 miles of traffic jams as thousands flee ahead of lockdown

Tens of thousands of drivers rushed to leave the capital this evening before the second national lockdown comes into force at midnight.

Data from SatNav app TomTom shows congestion in London was 34% higher than average at 6pm.

The mass exodus of city dwellers to their rural homes saw 2,624 traffic jams spanning 1,200 miles, with drivers reporting delays of more than 90 minutes.

It comes amid fears that the four week lockdown could be extended beyond December 2 and potentially beyond Christmas.

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This could persuade some people to stay with their family and loved ones while they still have the chance. Others squeezed in some last minute Christmas shopping while non-essential shops were still open.

TomTom data painted a similar picture across England, with worse than usual traffic in 16 out of 24 towns and cities and a complete standstill on the M25. Traffic was up 6% in Manchester, 34% in Newcastle and 17% in Leeds.

On London’s north circular, traffic jams stretched as long as eight miles, leading to average delays of an hour and fifteen minutes, according to traffic management system Inrix.

Complaining about congestion on Twitter, Londoners complained of ‘chaos everywhere’ and said 25 minute journeys were being stretched to 1 hour 40 minutes.

Paul Clarke wrote: ‘Tonight’s traffic in south London was the worst I have ever, ever seen, in 3 decades of riding it.’ 

Another user said: ‘It just took me two hours to drive 5 miles… this pre lockdown traffic.’

With the Christmas season fast approaching, the lockdown will serve as another blow to the retail sector, which has already struggled throughout the pandemic.

Insisting the shutdown of non-essential businesses would not continue beyond December 2, Boris Johnson apologised for the ‘nightmare of the Covid world’.

In a pre-recorded speech from Downing Street, he said: ‘I know how tough it has been for you and I’m full of admiration for the determination you’ve shown in persevering through this crisis.

‘I want to thank you for the heroic efforts you’ve made to look after your employees, to make your premises Covid-secure, putting in Perspex screens, all the trouble you’ve gone to in complying with the kinds of diktats that I never believed we would have to impose which, I assure you, go completely against every free market instinct I possess.

‘And, believe me, we will end these autumn measures on December 2 when they expire.’ 

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