OneRailton is a diverse, apolitical group of local residents who are deeply concerned by the impact of the Railton Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) on our community.
We hail from a wide range of occupations, backgrounds and ethnicities, and many of us are keen cyclists, walkers and some also drive.
We are social housing residents, private renters and homeowners.
We are concerned that this scheme was implemented without proper consultation under emergency Covid-19 measures and benefits relatively few people. It has consequences beyond its bounds, moving traffic and pollution to areas of high Covid 19 and increasing that risk. It has caused division within the community on racial, class, and social lines. Barriers have been placed between people and their carers, their families, their friends, their schools, their places of worship, the businesses they rely on. Full details of the scheme can be found HERE.
We all want cleaner air and we believe we all have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of the wider community we live and benefit from being a part of. Our guiding principles are that:
Reductions of traffic on residential streets are to be welcomed and are necessary.
Reduction of traffic for a few people achieved by moving traffic from one set of residential streets to another set of residential streets is not acceptable.
The result of the LTN cannot be to divide communities.
The result of the LTN cannot be to make businesses on which the community, or more vulnerable parts of it, depend become unprofitable or shut down.
The LTN must be demonstrated not to have a disproportionately negative effect on BAME residents as compared with white residents.
The LTN must be demonstrated not to have an adverse effect on people with disabilities.
The LTN must be demonstrated not to increase the output of greenhouse gases or other pollutants.
The metrics by which any LTN will be assessed should be published immediately by Lambeth Council to enable improvement of the scheme or proper objection.
Any and all modelling of traffic displacement or evaporation should be published immediately by Lambeth Council to enable improvement of the scheme or proper objection.
All traffic data collated or obtained by Lambeth Council used in the development of the LTN should be released immediately to enable improvement of the scheme or proper objection
Our primary concerns are the the current scheme is:
Inequitable: Cleaner air should be prioritised for all residents within a community. The Council’s own Equalities Analysis states that there may be ‘traffic changes’ on roads surrounding the LTN and that they will be monitoring traffic/air quality. Like those inside the Poet’s Corner area, the roads which will be taking the traffic displaced by the LTN are also residential (with a high number of BAME, less affluent, other at-risk people living and working on them); and many of them are already heavily congested and polluted. Many local schools are located on or around them. We are concerned that increased traffic on the roads surrounding the LTN is likely to compromise the health of many local residents (particularly as a 2nd wave of Covid-19 is predicted in the near future). Although the scheme’s proponents claim that traffic will eventually “evaporate” from surrounding roads the evidence used to support this is open to dispute, particularly as comes from schemes implemented in very different neighbourhoods to our own and is quite dated.
Many residents with limited mobility or other impairments are now finding it harder to access local amenities due to the road blockages and there has been no meaningful consultation or engagement with disabled people living in the area. Similarly many local small businesses (many of which are BAME owned) feel they have not been sufficiently consulted and have told us that they have seen a significant drop in income since the LTN has been implemented
Anti-democratic: Lambeth Council had been planning a form of the current LTN for years yet cynically used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to exercise emergency powers to enact the scheme. The Council both claims to have “consulted” with residents since 2019, yet in the next breath says that the pandemic left it no choice but to enact measures without consultation. Those residents most adversely affected were first informed of the LTN’s implementation mere days before its implementation.
Divisive: Brixton’s past social divisions are well documented – the 1981 Brixton riots began on Railton Road, the “Front Line”. In more recent years, the area has seen rapid changes and gentrification. Areas that were previously viewed by outsiders as no-go zones have become desirable and expensive places to live. At a time when we as a country are confronting the traumas and legacies of our colonial past, and awareness and support for causes such as Black Lives Matter are at an all time high, the implementation of the LTN in its current form (without proper consultation with BAME residents) feels thoughtless and politically tone deaf (albeit unintentional). Where before barricades were put up by those fighting the system, today they are erected by the council dividing the community and giving the LTN the feel of a gated community risking serious damage to social and racial cohesion in the area.
See the here for all the ways you can help the cause.