WIRRAL Council is unable to “recover any data that has been lost” monitoring a controversial cycle route due to power failures.

The Fender Lane cycle route was installed in 2022 on both sides of the road that crosses the M53 motorway between Bidston and Moreton. It was installed using funding from the Department for Transport through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which can only go towards new walking and cycle routes.

The route has been controversial since its installation and was criticised earlier this year for being unused and “in a hell of a state.” It has been blamed since for traffic backing up in either direction on the road but also heavily defended by cyclists and others who say it provides a safe link between east and west Wirral.

2022 statistics for Wirral show 102 people were casualties on the road. 78% of these were pedal cyclists, pedestrians, or motorcyclists with five fatal accidents. In numbers, 30 cyclists, 30 pedestrians and 20 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured in Wirral.

However in 2023, a petition was started by former councillor Karl Greaney, supported by Conservative councillors, calling for a review of the route with more than 1,000 people signing.  An equality impact assessment by Wirral Council said: “Journey times of all users will increase as a result of the introduction of a cycle lane/loss of one lane for vehicular traffic.”

In January 2024, council officers revealed people would be asked again for their opinion on the route in the future. Wirral Council said it was currently assessing usage of the route by walkers and cyclists as well as a review of road safety along the route.

These came from two sensors attached to street lights on Fender Lane which had started monitoring from November 2020.

However, on January 3, an email sent by officers to councillors said: “There has unfortunately been some issues with the sensors losing power for some periods which has resulted in failure of data collection – this is currently being addressed.”

An email in May said this was due to issues with the power connection which affected the ability of the sensor to gather data. It added: “Unfortunately we would not be able to recover any data that has been lost however in the case of Fender Lane there is a second sensor at the other end (Reeds Lane end) that has been unaffected.”

However, a letter from consultancy company Mott McDonald on February 24 said: “It is understood that there is not any before or during scheme implementation traffic data therefore the review will only comment on post scheme implementation levels.”

Moreton West and Saughall Massie councillor, Gary Bennett, said: “This cycle lane is a complete waste of money. Anyone who uses it will tell you that a cyclist is a rare sighting, while delays and tailbacks are adding to air and noise pollution.

“How convenient for supporters of this scheme that vital data has now been lost, meaning its success, or rather failure, can never be accurately assessed for ‘before and after’.”

He added: “We have heard of numerous delays caused by congestion at either end. Cyclists have also told us that the route is unsafe as it doesn’t lead to any other cycle routes and forces riders into the paths of oncoming traffic.”

A initial consultation carried out in 2021 found eight people in support with 13 objections and after consultation with two council committees, it was approved by council officers in February 2022. Those in favour have also argued the cycle lane will eventually join up with other routes and usage will increase.

When asked about the route previously, Cllr Ed Lamb, who is also a cycling campaigner, said: “I have never seen serious congestion. There is no congestion and there are no issues with emergency vehicles so why do you want to get rid of it? If you rip it up but are just going to put it back in eventually, it’s just a waste of public money really.

“I can see the pressure officers are under on this but it would just be really disappointing to see councillors ripping it out.”

Wirral Council were approached for comment.