“Anti-motor car Taliban” ruining Belfast soitis

Stephen Nolan hosts a debate on Sammy Wilson’s unique views about Belfast transport. Do go on..


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Sammy Wilson (DUP MP for East Antrim) reckons that the Department for Regional Development (Minister Michelle McIlveen, DUP MLA for Strangford) is waging a “war against motorists” in Belfast city centre with bus lanes and new 20mph speed limits.

On  the Stephen Nolan Show  debating the new 20mph zone and Sammy’s spin on it are  architect and planner Arthur Acheson  and commentator Ian Parsley.


Sammy is being Sammy and playing up to his self-image as Jeremy Clarkson-lite. Sammy’s also a former Environment Minister who thinks man-made climate change is a “con”. Sums up Northern Ireland really.

Arthur’s points about traffic being able to self-regulate through courteous behaviour is slightly barmy in the real world. Letting buses pull out at bus stops won’t help them speed past congested traffic, so bus lanes aren’t going anywhere.

Also see: usual tropes about car tax, motorists paying for roads, people refusing to shop in Belfast because they can’t drive safely, people admitting they don’t know how to drive safely (fined for being in an operational bus lane), “cyclists” don’t pay tax and insurance, the bureaucrats are looking to get more money from drivers, “motorists are very careful at looking all around them” – and a rake of taxi men phoning up the show ‘cos they’re so busy.

Boil down the Belfast on the Move project to it’s key targets and it’s a success – less cars travelling through Belfast city centre, but more overall people entering the city centre as folk have shifted to walking, cycling, buses and trains.

The new 20mph zone is another step along the road towards a really vibrant, liveable city centre which isn’t dominated by fast, impatient traffic with ‘no business being there‘. If it makes Belfast’s streets more attractive to people considering signing up to Belfast Bikes or bringing their own bicycle into town, it’s a great idea.

Facebook comments cringe factor: 8/10

 “If the war on terrorists was anywhere near as strong as the war on motorists…there would be no terror left in the world.” 

 “I will never go into Belfast to do shopping or socialise again, I cannot be bothered with the hassle of bus lanes and 20mph speed limits.” 

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