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Labour controlled Lambeth Council has undemocratically used Covid-19 emergency powers to close off large sections of roads across the borough, diverting traffic from one set of residential roads to another, creating confusion, anger and division across our communities.
OneLambethJustice is a diverse apolitical group of Lambeth residents supportive of ambitions to create cleaner air and tackle climate change, but we do not support these socially unjust Low Traffic Neighbourhoods which advantage relatively few people whilst unfairly disadvantaging many more.
LTNs were included the 2019 Tory election manifesto to ‘make side streets nicer to live on’ and we know that Lambeth Council and a handful of activists (including London Cycling Campaign’s Simon Still, a known racist) have been planning them for some years.
The current ‘experimental’ schemes have compounded the misery of the pandemic for many across Lambeth. This includes disabled people and their carers who rely on motorised transport, key workers, deliveries, hospital patient transport services, postal workers, tradespeople etc all of whom have to navigate their way around the barriers.
Many roads surrounding LTNs (where poorer people and People of Colour tend to live and work) have become much busier and more congested due to displaced traffic and idling vehicles (burning more fuel as drivers navigate their way around the barriers), Emergency service vehicles are often seen stuck in traffic on these roads.
The sudden imposition of traffic barriers has adversely affected the income of many small businesses (many of which are BAME owned and run) who previously relied on drive-by custom and are now experiencing difficulties with deliveries to and from their premises
Many residents, particularly women, have highlighted that they feel less safe walking on the quieter roads after dark.
The fact that the council has failed to meaningfully engage with anyone raising serious concerns about LTNs over the last year, led one disabled Covid 19 coma survivor to take legal action out of sheer desperation. Although the judge found in favour of the council, he took the highly unusual step of immediately granted an appeal against his own decision.
LTN advocates tell us that they help tackle the climate emergency. It is certainly not possible to draw any meaningful conclusions from data collected by the council during the pandemic - there are no proper baselines traffic counts on many roads, SCOOT congestion data (from traffic lights) is not being utilised and the Stge 1 and 2 Reports for Railton and Oval are littered with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. In addition, there are no traffic counts at all on many roads which are likely to be affected by an increase in traffic/congestion.
Air Quality monitoring is patchy and the organisation commissioned to model pollution levels has issues warning about current levels and future increases on some roads outside the LTN.
NIMBY Councillors and activists who live within these newly created LTNs (including Council Leader, Claire Holland and several cabinet members) appear primarily concerned with selling these Boris backed schemes to fellow residents who might be willing to overlook the struggles of others in order to retain their ‘privilege’ of virtually traffic free roads - just as they have done over the last year.
Join our campaign calling on Lambeth Council to stop this 'green washing', remove these environmentally & socially unjust LTNs dividing our communities and consult widely on traffic reduction schemes which do not leave anyone behind.