Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Lambeth “cannot be made permanent without consultation and we would not want to do that,” Claire Holland, Lambeth council deputy leader (sustainable transport, environment and clean air) told objectors at a recent full council meeting.
She was speaking after hearing a deputation of three local residents who demanded the immediate removal of all LTNs, saying there had been a lack of consultation and evidence.
“We believe that there has been a fundamental, unnecessary circumvention of democracy,” said Clapham resident Christian Oakley White.
The group also argued that the schemes push traffic onto busy main roads.
“Large BAME communities living on main roads will be exposed to increased levels of already poisonous pollution which will exasperate the danger of Covid” said Oakley White.
Richard Marshall said: “We want to get around peacefully and effectively and it is precisely because we believe in healthy unpolluted streets for the whole community that we reject LTNs.”
Holland, replying to the deputation, pointed out that the borough LTNs had been introduced as part of emergency government funding provided through Transport for London which had to be spent by September.
“I appreciate that the emergency LTNs and other transport interventions have been introduced in a way we don’t normally do things because of Covid-19,” she said.
“We have to prevent lurching from one health crisis to another, to create safer and healthier streets and to support a local economic recovery and to ensure that residents can access essential services.”
Holland also rejected the claim that pollution has increased since the scheme was introduced.
She said: “I don’t agree that there has been any evidence that pollution has increased on certain roads, but we are monitoring it and we have an open mind about that.”
She also accused the group of stoking division with its claim that the measures are hurting poorer areas, saying there was no evidence for this.
“On the contrary, thousands of residents in social housing are benefitting from safer streets and cleaner air,” said Holland.
“For example, there are five large council estates in the Oval to Stockwell LTN.”
In the conclusion to her response, Holland said she would like to work with the group, and would appreciate its feedback.