Contentious pop-up cycle lanes in Harrow could be in place for “as long as it takes” to help manage the Covid-19 pandemic, though they will continue to be subject to monthly reviews.

Cllr Varsha Parmar, who is responsible for the environment at Harrow Council, stood by the decision to introduce the lanes along several main roads in the borough despite suggestions they are being underutilised.

They form part of the Streetspace programme, a series of measures aimed at supporting social distancing using funding from Transport for London.

But opposition councillors from the borough’s Conservative group said they have received several complaints from residents who believe the schemes are causing more harm than good.

At a council cabinet meeting on Thursday (October 8), Cllr Pritesh Patel, who represents Harrow Weald ward, questioned the level of research and consultation before they were enacted.

He said: “As we see it, and as many of the public see it, they have been implemented with no thought for existing road users.

“Taking up a full lane has unnecessarily resulted in an increase in traffic and pollution and has increased the risk of collisions at side roads and roundabouts.”

He was supported by his colleague, Belmont ward councillor Anjana Patel, who urged the council to “reconsider these flawed schemes”.

She referenced an incident where an ambulance was forced to drive the wrong way down Honeypot Lane due to congestion and suggested any future delays for emergency vehicles “could be fatal”.

Cllr Parmar said she is yet to hear of any concerns raised by emergency services and reiterated the point that the council is following guidelines put forward by the Government when it comes to the Streetspace schemes.

She added the council is regularly reviewing the effectiveness of the new cycle lanes but noted they could go on for longer than the initial six-month trial period depending on the impact of the second wave of Covid-19.