Lewisham Neighbourhood Scheme – Will Traffic Simply Evaporate?

I visited the Council’s “public drop-in event” for the Lewisham “Healthy Neighbourhoods” scheme yesterday. It was so crowded that it was difficult to get a useful conversation with any council staff (I will be sending them some written questions instead), but I did talk to a few of the other attendees who were all opposed to the road closures and the lack of proper consultation.

Display Panel 3 2020-02-06

There were a number of maps and panels on display, including one with a headline title of “Traffic Evaporation” – see above. If you read the detail of the panel it claims only 11% of traffic disappeared from such schemes, but most of it found alternative routes. In the case of Lee Green this will mean more traffic on other minor routes, effectively displacing the problem and affecting other residents. But there will be a lot more on major roads such as the A20, A205 and A2212 thus creating long traffic queues and more air pollution not less.

One amusing answer I overheard in response to a question about emergency vehicle access was that police cars should be able to just “barge through” the barriers. That sounds exceedingly unlikely. Also some emergency vehicles may be able to get through the camera-enforced “bus gate” on Manor Park but I don’t understand how they will get through the other road closures. Delays to ambulances, fire engines and other emergency service vehicles are a major risk to life – see our recent blog post here which covers that issue: https://tinyurl.com/whzxksr . It is simply wrong for Lewisham Council to put in a scheme that introduces such delays.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

Press Release: Hybrid Cars To Be Banned From 2035

The Government plans to ban sales of new hybrid cars from 2035 along with all petrol and diesel cars. That has been brought forward from the previously planned date of 2040 and will now include hybrid vehicles.

The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) deplores this over-reaction to the views of the extreme end of the environmental movement. This change in the regulations ignores the whole-life cost in terms of carbon emissions of building, operating and scrapping vehicles. Premature changes will mean more emissions of CO2 not less.

There is also no certainty that by 2035 there will be vehicles available that provide sufficient range, or an adequate network of electric charging points that drivers can rely upon. It will also require a major expansion of the electricity grid to cope with the increased demand. All these changes will impose enormous costs on drivers and the economy, and threaten the very existence of the motor manufacturing industry.

Hybrid vehicles are a good compromise solution to meet the concerns of drivers and ensure that they transition to lower emission vehicles in due course, but this change might actually deter people from buying them. Bringing in tougher regulations might simply ensure that vehicle owners keep their old petrol/diesel vehicles for longer rather than replacing them with new ones, with the unintended consequence that emissions will not fall.

These proposals are part of the Government’s plans to achieve a net-zero carbon target by 2050 which will impose enormous costs on the economy and have no impact on the worldwide emissions. The UK is already a very small part of worldwide emissions and unless major nations such as China and the USA cease using coal in power stations, when they are currently building more of them, there will be negligible impact.

This latest announcement is just another example of “gesture politics” that may kowtow to the whims of environmental enthusiasts in the UK but will in reality have negligible impact apart from inconveniencing the general public.

Safer Speeds – The Real Data

I have commented before on how Transport for London (TfL) have failed to justify their “Safer Speeds” proposals which includes imposing 20 mph speed limits on many roads. We have previously pointed out how TfL have been misinterpreting police accident data to support their claims that the measures are justified.

For example, they issued a Tweet that said “speed accounts for 37% of all death and serious injuries” in road accidents in London. That figure is simply wrong. The claim was allegedly based on the STATS19 data reported by the police (a form they fill out about every accident involving injuries).  That form allows for multiple factors to be recorded and after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request we learned that they counted all the accidents where factors 306, 307 and 602 were noted.

But factor 602 is described as “Driver/rider either behaved in a negligent or thoughtless manner or was in a hurry….”. Clearly the key word in that sentence is the second “or” when TfL have interpreted it to mean “and”.  There is no basis for claiming that all accidents where factor 602 is attached were rated by the police as ones where a driver was in a hurry. They might have simply been careless. Only where the other factors 306 or 307 were also noted could there be any claim that speed was a factor in the accident.

We now have the complete accident data and the data makes it plain that exceeding the speed limit (factor 306) is a very minor factor in KSIs (Killed and Serious Injuries) in London. It’s actually recorded as a contributory factor in only 5.9% of such accidents in the last five years. That’s actually less than the figure of 7.1% reported by the Department for Transport for the national figures in 2018 – see table below. Clearly tougher enforcement of speed limits is therefore unlikely to have much impact on the overall numbers. That of course is particularly so in London where average traffic speed is typically well below the speed limit.

Contributory Factors and Speed - ras50008

The largest contributory factor by far is “Failed to Look Properly” which accounted for 42% of KSIs in London or 35% nationally. But there are several other factors with higher ratings than “Exceeding the Speed Limit” such as “Poor Turn or Manoeuvre”, “Failed to Judge Other Persons Path…”, “Loss of Control” and “Careless, Reckless or in a Hurry”.

Even if you bundle factors 306 and 307 together only 12% of KSI incidents are included nationally so reducing speed limits is going to have only a small contribution at best to reducing such accidents. It’s reducing the other factors that is the key to substantially reducing road casualties. More driver education, improved roads and research into saccadic masking may be productive.

Note also that a lot of the reported factor 306 and 307 claims of excessive speed and speed above the speed limit might well involve illegal use of vehicles such as stolen vehicles so reducing speed limits will have negligible impact in reality.

There is simply no cost/benefit justification for the Safer Speeds proposals as pointed out in our previous article and TfL have clearly been abusing the data so as to make spurious claims.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

TfL Misleads on Safer Speeds

I have commented before on how Transport for London (TfL) have failed to justify their “Safer Speeds” proposals which includes imposing 20 mph speed limits on many roads – see https://tinyurl.com/rlz4pa5. But we have now discovered that TfL have been misinterpreting police accident data to support their claims that the measures are justified.

For example, they issued a Tweet that said “speed accounts for 37% of all death and serious injuries” in road accidents in London. That was apparently based on the STATS19 data reported by the police (a form they fill out about every accident involving injuries).  That form allows for multiple factors to be recorded and after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request we learn that they counted all the accidents where factors 306, 307 and 602 were noted.

But factor 602 is described as “Driver/rider either behaved in a negligent or thoughtless manner or was in a hurry….”. Clearly the key word in that sentence is the second “or” when TfL have interpreted it to mean “and”.  There is no basis for claiming that all accidents where factor 602 is attached were rated by the police as ones where a driver was in a hurry. They might have simply been careless. Only where the other factors 306 or 307 were also noted could there be any claim that speed was a factor in the accident.

We now have the complete accident data to enable us to work out what the correct figure is, but it is likely to be very much lower. We will advise in due course as it will take some time to analyse the data.

Note also that a lot of the reported factor 306 and 307 claims of excessive speed and speed above the speed limit might well involve illegal use of vehicles such as stolen vehicles so reducing speed limits will have negligible impact in reality.

There is simply no cost/benefit justification for the Safer Speeds proposals as pointed out in our previous article and TfL have now been found to have been fiddling the figures to make spurious claims.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

 

 

Lewisham Closing Roads for “Healthy Neighbourhoods”

The London Borough of Lewisham is proposing to close roads in a number of areas as part of a programme to reduce traffic and promote “healthy neighbourhoods”. There has been minimal public consultation on these proposals which would cause enormous inconvenience to local residents, visitors and delivery drivers apart from causing congestion on other roads.

The first area they plan to cover is Lewisham and Lee Green where road closures will be installed on a “trial” basis soon but other areas they propose to cover are East Sydenham, Telegraph Hill and Bellingham. See https://tinyurl.com/yy9t92gn for more background information. Such schemes are of course a part of the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy to get us all walking, cycling and using public transport and prejudicing those who wish to use motor vehicles of any kinds. We are likely to see similar proposals from other London boroughs – at least those of a similar complexion to Lewisham who are very much against all road vehicles.

More details of the proposals for Lewisham and Lee Green are present here: https://streetbuilder.io/lewishamandleegreen/site/proposals . Note the proposals to close Manor Lane, Manor Park and Upwood Road which would be particularly inconvenient. The latter would also affect residents who live in the Borough of Greenwich who have not been consulted.

Residents of these boroughs who are likely to be affected by these proposals should certainly contact their local councillors and there is a “public drop-in event” on the 6th February, 1-8pm, Good Sheppard Church Hall, Handen Road, SE12 8NR where you can tell council officers what you think about the plans. There are also email addresses you can send in objections to in the first link given above and there is a meeting in Lee Green on the 11th February – see details here:

http://councilmeetings.lewisham.gov.uk/mgMeetingAttendance.aspx?ID=5740

The ABD will be making objections to these plans but local residents need to do so also!

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

 

 

Building on Station Car Parks

One of the items I overlooked when discussing the TfL Business Plan in a previous blog post was the proposal to build on car parks owned by TfL. There is obviously a high demand for more housing in London and TfL control a significant amount of land so it is not unreasonable to look at whether some of it could be used for housing. However building on station car parks would remove a very useful facility and cause great problems for many people who use them as part of a commuting strategy. To quote from TfL’s Business Plan:

“Working with Grainger plc, we have launched Connected Living London, a ground-breaking new partnership. Together, we are delivering one of the UK’s biggest Build to Rent programmes, with 3,000 homes being built across seven sites. Arnos Grove, which will be one of the first sites we submit to the Local Planning Authority, will see us transform a car park into around 150 good-quality rental homes – 40 per cent of which will be affordable. Not only will we provide the homes London desperately needs, but by developing on car parks, like Arnos Grove and Cockfosters, we will be promoting active and sustainable travel in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy”.

In respect of the Cockfosters proposals, there is a consultation you can give your views to here: https://www.givemyview.com/cockfosters/ , or for Arnos Grove here: https://www.givemyview.com/arnosgrove/ . The questions are biased in that there is no option to respond “do nothing” but you can still make your views clear.

People affected by these proposals could also object to the Planning Applications once they are made. See Enfield and Barnet council planning systems.

There are also petitions on Change.org against the Cockfosters proposal – see https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-stop-cockfosters-station-car-park-development-to-keep-crucial-facilities-in-our-area and here for Arnos Grove: https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-let-s-stop-tfls-proposed-development-of-the-car-parks-at-arnos-grove-station

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.

Are You Suffering from London Throat?

An article in the Daily Telegraph today (9/1/2020) suggests that if you have a constant foggy feeling with repeated coughs and colds then you are suffering from a hitherto unknown disease called “London Throat”. The suggestion is that this condition arises from breathing in polluted air and very specifically inhaling brake dust that damages the immune system, thus preventing the cells called macrophages from clearing away bacteria.

The research on which this claim was based was carried out by Dr Liza Selley and published in the journal Metallomics. Apparently the concentration of tiny metal particles in brake dust is three times higher on roads with speed humps due to the repeated braking they induce.

Comment: If there is such a cause then those who live, work and travel in London are much more likely to have suffered from exposure to particulates on the London Underground where levels of dust pollution are very high and are known to have high concentrations of metal particles.

However, the removal of speed humps which the Telegraph article suggested as a solution, and has also been recommended by NICE to cut pollution, would certainly be a good idea. The ABD has consistently opposed speed humps on the grounds that they generate more air pollution but also for many other reasons. See this web page for a full analysis of how damaging and effective they are:  https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/speed-humps.htm

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.