And so, reaching for my tin hat, let’s turn to the contentious topic of low-traffic zones. As so often when online debates get heated, the underlying issues can get a little lost. But it’s worth rewinding back to why such schemes are being set up: in the immediate future, to improve health; and in the (not that much) longer term, to tackle the escalating climate change crisis.

Back in May, the government announced £250 million of ‘emergency active travel funding’ from which many of these schemes derive. Why? Well, the data on Covid showed the disease disproportionately affecting those who were unhealthy or obese: a fitter nation would put less pressure on the NHS. But pandemic or no pandemic, air pollution is a growing killer: it is now linked to one in nineteen deaths in urban areas. And that’s far from a south east thing: one recent survey scored Bournemouth and Southampton as the first and third worst cities in the UK respectively.

Put simply, our attitudes towards transport simply have to change. There are currently 38.4 million registered vehicles in the UK, a figure that, bar 1991, has increased every single year since the Second World War. In 2019, we travelled a record 356.4 billion vehicle miles. Without intervention, these numbers and the resulting congestion are set to rise still further.

If you’ve got too many cars on the roads, there are two options: build more roads or reduce the number of car journeys. Building roads doesn’t work: as quick as you open them, they fill up again. The only way forward is to wean ourselves off our over-dependence on the automobile – to encourage greater use of public transport, with more walking and cycling for shorter journeys.

That’s not an easy sell. Changing habits is hard. It requires leadership from politicians and consultation to bring communities on board. Here, the Government have cowardly left local councils to take the flak. But for all the social media noise on the issue, repeated polling shows that a clear majority are actually supportive.

Barcelona, with its ownership of 6,000 cars per square mile, has just announced a huge expansion of its ‘superblocks’ scheme, replacing through traffic with green spaces and cycle lanes. When the trial was announced in 2017, there was a similar chorus of heated opposition from motorists, worried businesses and complaints about lack of consultation. But officials held their nerve, and as the results of reduced pollution and both health and economic benefits became clear, the city swung firmly behind.

Do trial schemes have their issues? That’s why they’re trial schemes. But as Barcelona shows, such schemes do work and, when given timeto bed in, are broadly popular.