Horn Park and Weigall Road LTN in Greenwich/Lewisham

In addition to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes in other parts of the London Borough of Greenwich previously mentioned on this blog, they are now proposing a scheme in the Horn Park Lane and Weigall Road area.

This will include closures of Weigall Road, Abergeldie Road and Westhorne Avenue using cameras and will significantly affect residents of the triangle of roads between the South Circular and the A20. That is particularly so as Lewisham Council have already closed Upwood Road.

This scheme is being imposed with an Experimental Traffic Order and you can find more details plus a map on this Commonplace web site where you can post your comments: https://greenersafergreenwich.commonplace.is/proposals/horn-park-low-traffic-neighbourhood

This scheme will cause many residents to take long circuitous routes and create problems for delivery drivers and other service providers. It is completely unnecessary as the volume of traffic on these roads has never been very high.

It is important for residents of the Borough of Greenwich who are opposed to these proposals to send in objections directly to the Council, and also send them to your local councillors. You can look them up here: https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200155/councillors_and_elected_officials/598/find_your_councillor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Croydon LTN Supported by Council Despite Overwhelming Public Opposition

Croydon Council introduced a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood areas using Temporary Traffic Orders a few months ago. In included road closures on such roads as Auckland Road (see photo above). The closures generated a very large number of complaints about increased traffic congestion and generally making life more difficult for residents including opposition from the neighbouring borough of Bromley into which traffic was diverted. A campaign group called “Open Our Roads” was formed to oppose the closures (see https://abdlondon.wordpress.com/2020/10/18/crystal-palace-campaign-against-road-closures/ ).

Croydon Council have undertaken a public consultation on the LTN and produced a report on the survey results. This will now be considered by a Traffic Management Advisory Committee on the 12th January. See link before for the report. It’s 370 pages long so here are some key points to note from it:

  1. They propose to remove the measures implementing the LTN but propose to replace them with a scheme based on an Experimental Traffic Order. This will include a number of road closures enforced by ANPR cameras from which they will no doubt generate considerable revenue, although there will be some exemptions for local residents. Note that in December Croydon effectively declared bankruptcy by issuing a Section 114 notice due to financial mismanagement over several years by the ruling Labour administration. They are desperate to raise income it seems.
  • These proposals are being made despite 75% of residents within the LTN area opposing the retention of the scheme and 62% opposing the introduction of an ANPR scheme. Some 61% want the scheme removed altogether with only 23% opposing – these are very decisive numbers for any public survey and do not even include responses from those living outside the LTN who responded.
  • There was very decisive opposition from areas such as SE19, SE20, SE25 and within Bromley.
  • Journey times in areas such as the Crystal Palace Triangle showed “moderate to significant” increases in peak periods, with a “serious” increase in the PM peak.

The proposal to retain any part of the LTN scheme is clearly totally undemocratic. They argue that the survey done was not a “truly representative picture of local views” which is surely nonsense. It is certainly no justification for continuing with the LTN and imposing an Experimental Traffic Order.

Will Councillors do what their residents want or ignore them in the name of pursuing a response to the “Climate Emergency” they have declared? We will soon see. But they should bear in mind that there is no evidence that LTNs create any overall benefits in terms of air pollution because it often just means drivers have to drive further to get to their chosen destinations and sit in traffic jams for longer.

Unfortunately Croydon is one those London Councils where Councillors decisions are apparently driven by dogma and not by logic.

Report to Traffic Management Committee: https://tinyurl.com/y57nbcse

Daily Telegraph Report: https://tinyurl.com/y53xcf4t

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Legal Challenge Against LTNs in Ealing

A group named One Ealing have launched a legal challenge against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the borough. They are raising funds using Crowdfunder to cover their costs and I suggest that you give them some support. See https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/oneealing

They say on their web site: “Ealing Council has divided our community by installing CCTV cameras, bollards and placing planters in an unsafe and undemocratic manner. We are all for cleaner air, but not at the expense of the residents and schools on the main roads”. In other words, they have the same complaints as in other London boroughs where LTNs are installed.

PLEASE SUPPORT THEM.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

The Consequences of Shutting Out Traffic

There was a very intelligent article recently published by Building Design from David Rudlin. He covered the downside of blocked roads in estates in Moss Side in Manchester. It was the equivalent of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood but in the 1980s.

He calls it a “disaster” as gangs of kids on bikes could disappear into the area where the police could not follow. He says “pretty soon no one who did not live there would go into the neighbourhood”, turning it into a “no-go zone”. But reopening the roads subsequently transformed the area.

Will the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London turn out to be a mistake when crime spirals out of control? We will soon see.

See https://www.bdonline.co.uk/opinion/consider-the-consequences-before-shutting-out-the-traffic/5108602.article? for the Rudlin article.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

The LTN, Air Pollution and Climate Emergency in Lewisham

The justification for the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in Lewisham was spelled out by Mayor Damien Egan in his webinar on the 22ndOctober (see https://tinyurl.com/LTNResidentsMeeting to watch a recording).

He said that the reasons the LTN was proposed was to a) Improve Air Quality; b) Making streets safer by reducing car journeys; and c) Making it easier to walk and cycle. He also said “road traffic is the number one cause of toxic air and toxic air kills”. Unfortunately he is wrong in several respects.

Toxic air is usually judged to be based on the level of particulates (dust) in the air and the level of nitrous oxides (NOX), although there is some debate as to whether NOX (mainly NO2) is actually damaging to health. Particulates, namely PM 2.5, are the major concern and to quote from the report in Reference 1 below “Road transport accounts for around a quarter of PM2.5 in London, with a large proportion also coming from construction, wood burning and commercial cooking”.

The ABD covered the issue of the contribution of vehicles to air quality in a report we published two years ago – see Reference 2. The Conclusion in that report said this:

“In conclusion, let it be clear that the ABD is supportive of improving air quality in the UK, particularly in urban areas and on particular roads where transport is a major generator of emissions. But there is no public health crisis and measures to improve air quality should be both reasonable and moderate. According to a recent report from Defra, since 1970 NOx emissions have fallen by 72% and Particulates (PM2.5) by 79%. The hysteria about air pollution is wrongly being used to generate tax revenues to local government (e.g. the ULEZ in London and similar proposals for other UK cities) without any justification in terms of cost/benefits. The likely improvement in air quality that will result will be unlikely to be noticed by residents because it will simply be too small and it will have no significant long-term impact on health”.

Even if you consider NOX to be of concern as a lot of it does come from transport, in practice LTNs mainly affect car users while the majority of NOX comes from buses and commercial vehicles – only 33% comes from petrol or diesel cars – see Reference 3 for the data from 2013 and it’s probably considerably less now.

Does “toxic air” kill, as the Mayor said? In reality it is very unlikely that the level of air pollution in Lewisham kills anyone at all. If you live on one of the worst streets for air pollution such as on the “A” roads where there is heavy traffic (particularly HGVs and buses), it is possible that life expectancy might be shortened by a few days. But you are likely to experience more exposure to particulates from domestic cooking and heating than from road transport. The exposure of smokers is also many times worse. Your life expectancy is most dependent on your lifestyle, domestic and work environments, not on background air pollution.

The Mayor also suggested that the streets would be safer if car journeys were reduced but diverting the journeys to main roads as the LTN is doing is not going to help. The accidents will move also to roads where higher speeds may be present. There is no evidence that overall road casualties will reduce by such an approach. In practice LTNs do not reduce car journeys significantly if a wider area is considered – they just divert journeys to longer routes.

As regards the comment that the LTN will make it easier to walk and cycle, there is no obvious problem in using either of those modes in the LTN and reducing traffic will not assist.     

Another justification given in the webinar for the LTN was by CEO Kim Wright who said it supported the Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan adopted by the Borough – see Reference 4. Many Lewisham Councillors clearly believe they are helping to save the world from global warming by cutting CO2 emissions. Without getting into a debate on the science of global warming, you can see how futile that is in terms of actions possible by the London Borough of Lewisham by considering this data:

Lewisham emitted 805,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2017/2018 which is 0.2% of UK emissions of 354 million tonnes in 2019. The UK proportion of world emissions is about 1%, so Lewisham’s contribution to world emissions is 0.2% of 1%, i.e. 0.002%. The UK is taking vigorous actions to reduce overall emissions while countries such as China (28% of world emissions) are still building hundreds of coal-fired power plants. Any actions by Lewisham will have negligible impact on emissions in the UK let alone the world, and actions to tackle excessive CO2 emissions should be taken at a national level where it can be most effective.

In fact LTNs are unlikely to have any impact on CO2 emissions for another reason. Over 50% of CO2 emissions arise in housing – mainly domestic heating, and only 14.7% arise from cars.

In summary the main reason for the introduction of LTNs in Lewisham given by the Mayor of Lewisham simply do not stand up to scrutiny. The dogma about the need to reduce vehicles on our roads is not only unjustifiable on any cost/benefit analysis, it is simply unjustifiable full stop.

This virtue signalling by Lewisham councillors is imposing enormous inconvenience and costs on Lewisham residents that cannot be justified. Journey times have increased enormously, while air pollution on roads that already had high levels has clearly worsened.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods do not solve anything and are based on irrational opposition to the use of vehicles which the world has come to rely on.

Roger Lawson

Reference 1: Air Pollution Monitoring Data in London: https://tinyurl.com/y57nucz9

Reference 2: Air Quality and Vehicles: The Truth: https://tinyurl.com/yx9bk9kg

Reference 3: Lewisham Air Quality Action Plan (2016-2021): https://tinyurl.com/y2n684bz

Reference 4; Lewisham Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan: https://tinyurl.com/y34bwcnj

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.