Low traffic neighbourhoods could be scrapped as motorists suffer – ‘more harm than good’

Nick Ferrari clashes with guest over Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

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Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are groups of residential streets near main roads where “through” motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed. Downing Street has admitted that LTNs are having an “impact on businesses” that must be considered.

Tradesmen who live near road closures claim they have been forced to raise prices by as much as a quarter because they are able to attend significantly fewer jobs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously urged councils to “crack on” with the environmental schemes.

LTNs and cycle lanes were introduced by councils nationwide following the launch of the Government’s £2billion Active Travel Fund in May 2020.

With an LTN in place, the area can benefit from less traffic, slower speeds, safer streets and a quieter living environment.

They have been praised for their low infrastructure costs, with well-placed bollards, planters and signs being used to create them.

Despite this, some residents inside the zone complained about access for disabled people, adverse effects on businesses and rising pollution levels.

Asked whether the schemes still had Mr Johnson’s support, his official spokesperson said: “I have to say, I haven’t asked him about that specific policy recently.

“I know obviously these are decisions for local councils – for mayors in the main – and are rightly taken at the local level and need to balance out what’s best for the community.

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“The PM is a strong supporter of cycling for a number of reasons, but these are rightly local decisions that need to take into account the impact on business, on motorists,” they told the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson claimed in February last year that “the majority” of Britons supported cycle lanes and road closures.

In the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, which was published last October, there are numerous mentions of active travel and low traffic neighbourhoods.

It stated that “thousands of miles of segregated cycle lines and more low-traffic neighbourhoods” would help reduce emissions.

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By 2030, the Government is aiming for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be done on a bicycle or by walking.

This will include at least one zero emission transport city, as announced in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

LTNs were a topic of discussion for many people standing in the local council elections yesterday, with Conservatives in Tottenham, Streatham and Enfield all campaigning against green schemes.

Some areas have already taken the decision to ditch LTNs, including Wandsworth.

The council decided to axe the scheme after just a month after their introduction over concerns about access for emergency services.

Last year, Maria Psaras, a Green Party candidate for Crystal Palace in south London, spoke out against the measures.

In a letter to her local councillor, saying: “As a Green, I of course support and promote the reduction of traffic and pollution – and an LTN is one way to achieve this but to be successful, in my view, it needs to be part of a wider, well consulted and well managed plan.

“The risks of isolated LTN planters in the roads that simply divert traffic through to neighbouring narrow, winding roads and where locals have not been consulted, can cause more harm than good, and alone do not bear the makings of a successful LTN.”

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