Since the pandemic lockdown, Royal Parks in London such as Bushey, Greenwich and Richmond have closed previously busy ‘rat-run’ roads in order to aid social-distancing and encourage cycling.

The gates at Regent’s Park are however controlled by an unelected quango called the Crown Estate Pavement Commission (CEPC). Various campaign groups have been trying to get them to abandon their veto and allow gate closures (which are supported by the Royal Parks and the Mayor of London).

Now those groups have been joined by Extinction Rebellion, and early this morning they used D-locks on their necks to lock on to the gates at Marylebone Road minutes before these were due to be unlocked by CEPC security.

Caspar Hughes, one of the protesters, said “Transport is the largest emitting greenhouse sector in the UK. If we can’t deal with the smaller transport issues like this, what chance do our kids have?”

Police were called, but after discussions with a CEPC manager, they withdrew threats of arrest, and after four hours across the peak rush-hour, the protest left peacefully.

More actions are planned and there will also be a family-friendly protest outside the office of the CEPC next month.

The CEPC were contacted for comment but gave no response in time for publication.