E-scooter crackdown ‘to protect lives and stop drugs trade’ urged by Peterborough Conservative leader

A crackdown on the use of e-scooters is being urged by the man expected to become Peterborough City Council’s next leader.

By Joel Lamy
Monday, 24th May 2021, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 24th May 2021, 6:29 am

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald has mirrored warnings from officers about the “nuisance” vehicles which he believes are putting “lives at danger”.

It is currently only legal to ride e-scooters on private land with the landowner’s permission or as part of a government trial, which Peterborough is not currently taking part in.

Cllr Fitzgerald is expected to be voted in as council leader next week after being appointed as head of the authority’s Conservative group.

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The Tories are the largest party at the Town Hall, albeit they are two seats shy of a majority. However, it is expected the party will form the next administration.

Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, the member for West ward said he had heard of issues with e-scooters in places including Bretton and the Ortons.

He said: “I’ve been getting no endless amount of complaints about e-scooters. We need to get tough.

“E-scooters are being used recreationally and as a conduit for the drugs trade. I’ve personally witnessed that happening in Ravensthorpe. They are a social nuisance and people are complaining about them.

“If it is a nuisance within neighbourhoods there are some powers the council can do in terms of noise and nuisance. We want to work closely with the police on cracking down on this and confiscating these things as they’re putting lives at danger.

“The law is the law and we need to uphold this.

“The police and crime commissioner, myself and (MP for Peterborough) Paul Bristow will make representations to the chief constable, but he has limited resources and has to live within his means.

“The police do a very good job but must be alert to people’s concerns in neighbourhoods.”

Despite fears over e-scooters, Cllr Fitzgerald said he remains committed to promoting the environmental agenda in Peterborough, albeit he believes the use of cars will remain important to many going forward.

“We’re moving to electric vehicles in refuse collection to improve the environment. I want more of that,” he said.

“I also want to think about rolling out electric charging in other areas of the city, in particular the townships.

“I also want to improve some of the townships by creating more car parking. People are never going to do away with cars.”

Cllr Fitzgerald has taken over from the recently retired John Holdich as Conservative leader, with his predecessor having outlined proposals to place Prevention and Enforcement Service officers in areas of Peterborough outside the city centre to clampdown on anti-social behaviour.

Asked if that remained a policy going forward, Cllr Fitzgerald replied: “We’ve always had a plan should circumstances warrant it but it would have to be self-funding. We don’t want to be Big Brother fining everything that moves, but do what other people want you to do.

“If we put resources into upholding neighbourhood security and parking it has to be paid for.

“I’ll be talking to the team to see how far they’ve got with that. If that’s what the public want I will roll out more officers into the neighbourhoods.”