Kirstie Allsopp blasts BBCs Sarah Smith for grotesque fear mongering on-air

Trains are key to economic recovery says RDG's Robert Nesbitt

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Kirstie Allsopp, 49, called out BBC Radio 4 host Sarah Smith, claiming she was “actively fear mongering and discouraging people” on the air. The Channel 4 presenter has been very vocal throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and took to Twitter, to blast the radio station for their reporting of public travel now the restrictions have been lifted throughout the UK, in view of her 424,000 followers.

I cannot believe this is allowed, apart from anything else it’s environmentally reckless

Kirstie Allsopp

“Listening to @BBCr4today late in the day and hearing @BBCsarahsmith actively fear mongering and discouraging people from train travel is grotesque,” Kirsty penned.

“I cannot believe this is allowed, apart from anything else it’s environmentally reckless.”

In a follow-up tweet she continued her rant, encouraging the station to take responsibility.

She added: “I don’t think any Covid reporting I have heard in the last 6 months has made me despair more, @BBCRadio4 take their responsibility for the dangers posed by fear and isolation more seriously.”

Many took to the comments section to share their thoughts and to agree with the presenter, with some calling it “laughable”.

One user wanted to quickly reassure everyone that train travel was fine, stating: “Just been on train. No drama. All good.”

Sarah has yet to respond to Kirsty but contacted her reps for comment.

It comes after she discussed the Rail Delivery Group’s new campaign to get people back using trains again, after many stopped during the pandemic.

“Can you convince people it’s really safe to get on a train now?” Sarah asked Robert Nesbitt, the director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group.

He explained that they are keeping the trains and stations as clean as possible and there is capacity.

“Our argument is there isn’t going to be a national or economic recovery until people start using the trains again,” he said.

As Robert referenced an independent survey done by Transport Focus – the passenger watchdog – which saw 90 per cent of people say they felt safe on a train, Sarah interrupted.

“But they were on a quieter train with distancing measures in place,” she pointed out.

“It’s been reported that the Rail Safety and Standards Board predicted that the number of potential deaths from Covid caught on train over the next few months could range from double to triple figures.”

Robert revealed that the data taken from the Safety Board and then turned into a story by a journalist was “highly misleading” and that rail travel is safe and the Covid risk is low.

Again, Sarah interrupted: “Well if it was misleadingly reported, you just published the modelling that was done by the Rail Safety and Standards board and people will be able to assess for themselves the risks trailing on a train is,” she snapped.

Robert hit back: “The worst case scenario has been taken as a prediction. That is misleading.

“It is safe, and no where is zero risk, but from the scientific studies that have been carried out, rail travel is safe because of the levels of ventilation and other measures we’ve taken to keep trains and stations clean,” he explained, also referencing the amount of information out there available to the public to help keep everyone safe.

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