London council cuts SEVEN low-traffic neighborhoods after failing to improve air quality
Seven of London’s low-traffic neighborhoods (LTNs) are to be scrapped after they were found to increase local congestion and had caused “no significant change in air quality”.
Ealing’s council investigated nine LTNs following an outcry from residents, who gathered in their thousands outside the town hall in April to demand their removal.
LTNs were introduced during the lockdown last year to redirect traffic away from residential areas, which involved the installation of cycle paths, the closure of traffic lanes and the widening of sidewalks.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps previously announced that the program – which provides for 200 LTN across the country – is expected to receive hundreds of millions of pounds as part of the government’s so-called ‘green transport revolution’, which hopes reduce car use by encouraging walking and cycling.
However, a year after their introduction, seven of Ealing’s nine LTNs had “no data available on the existence of an impact on walking and cycling,” according to a report.
Ealing Council even discovered an increase in traffic on one road in Acton LTN, as well as an increase in the number of cars traveling on its border roads.
While five of the seven LTNs inevitably experienced reduced traffic on residential streets inside the program, “increased congestion” was created on neighboring streets, but not necessarily on border roads, the Telegraph reported. .
More than 2,000 people protested the low traffic neighborhood program outside Ealing town hall in April (pictured)
An Ealing Council report found that LTNs had ‘no significant change in air quality’ for affected residents (Photo: LTN in Dulwich)
In Ealing, between 63 and 79 percent of people living inside the programs oppose it, rising to 67 to 92 percent of those residing on the borders (protesters march towards Ealing town hall in April)
The report reads: “There is evidence that (as might be expected) traffic flows have decreased in each of the LTN areas themselves.
“Apart from that, generally speaking, the overall advantages for some residents are somewhat outweighed by the disadvantages for others.
“In addition, there is no program whose overall impact in terms of traffic / congestion and air quality is significant, either positively or negatively.
“In this context, it is considered that the views of local residents within the LTNs, and therefore those most directly affected by the programs, are particularly important in deciding whether or not LTNs should remain or be abolished.”
The council used three different systems to gauge public support or opposition from both those living in the LTN and those living on the border roads.
The damning report challenges repeated government claims that the LTN is a popular idea among the public.
In Ealing at least, between 63 and 79 percent of those living inside the projects oppose it, rising to 67 to 92 percent of those residing on the borders.
The damning report challenges repeated government claims that LTN is a popular idea among the public (Photo: Motorists unearthed flowers and destroyed plants as part of their angry protest against low-traffic neighborhoods in Dulwich Village , in South London)
Acton LTN in particular had “strong opposition”, with 82 percent of those inside being against, rising to 92 percent for those on its border routes.
Only two LTNs received support, with 70% and 61% of residents in favor of staying in place.
The report – which is expected to be approved by councilors this week – calls for the removal of the seven unpopular LTNs and the retention of the two beloved ones.
It comes after more than 2,000 people protested the LTN program outside Ealing town hall in April.
Within a month, an experimental LTN at West Ealing was scrapped.
A spokesperson for One Ealing, a group opposed to the way the LTNs were rushed during the pandemic, told the Telegraph: “We welcome the planned removal of these ill-designed programs which have proven not to deliver the benefits. stated benefits while in fact creating serious problems for residents.
There have been more than 150 separate cases of low traffic neighborhoods (LTN) slowing ambulance teams in London over an eight-month period, he revealed earlier this year. (Pictured: A constant stream of patients was brought to the Royal London Hospital last year)
“Over the past 12 months we have repeatedly pointed out that the vast majority of residents oppose it, only to be told that it is a ‘voice minority’ – this error has now been fully proven. false, through many polls We are happy that the majority has finally been heard.
A spokesperson for Ealing Council added that it “offers an ambitious program of active travel”, in part to help tackle the climate crisis.
He added that the local authority “knows that we have to take people with us” and therefore “would listen to the point of view of the local population”.
He said: “As an open, transparent and inclusive board, we will continue to explore future LTN programs, but we will only implement them if we are confident that the data and the public support them.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said: “Well-designed active travel programs can benefit health, the environment and the economy and our evidence suggests that they are generally supported by the majority of people.
“Decisions about individual plans are made by local authorities. “
it comes after Garrett Emmerson, who has resigned his post as Managing Director of London The ambulance service last month said some paramedics were caught off guard when roads were altered “very quickly” during the lockdown.
There have been more than 150 separate cases of LTN slowing ambulance teams in London over an eight-month period, he revealed earlier this year.
Mr Garrett told LBC radio that LTNs did not display on GPS, meaning crews were hampered in areas they were unfamiliar with.
A road closure has ended motor vehicle access to Melbourne Grove, Dulwich, which remains open to cyclists and pedestrians, as part of a London-wide offer to reduce pollution from the air
He said: “It’s okay if you know the area, but our teams are working all over London. Then when they go to an area of London that they are less familiar with and rely on satellite navigation that is not up to date – a new restriction has come into effect – it is there that many problems arise.
Mr Garrett said he couldn’t “definitively” say the delays caused by LTNs were costing lives, but said the speed at which they were built was the major problem.
He added: “Did they delay the answers? Yes, in some situations I think they delayed some answers because you had to put them in really quickly. ‘
Some 159 delays of 999 calls were reported by paramedics in the eight months leading up to February of this year, according to data revealed in May by an access to information request.
But the areas “have not increased response times,” according to the government’s analysis of more than 100,000 emergency calls since their implementation.
Elsewhere in Dulwich, a business owner was forced to spend around £ 50,000 to move his store to another location in August after an LTN cut the business off.
Scott Callow, owner of Callow Master Locksmiths, was one of several Melbourne Grove business owners affected by the program, which also sparked protests from residents and business owners earlier this year.
The more than 20-year-old company opened new premises in Grove Vale after complaining in March of “a significant drop in trade since the road closures were put in place.”
A Twitter account named Reopen Melbourne Grove, which is run by “concerned business owners” in the area, said in an article that the locksmiths were the second company to relocate due to the “unvisited” road closure and that three others were also considering moving.