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Green campaigners question anti-Low Traffic Neighbourhood petition

Debate continues to rage over Lambeth’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes. 

Lambeth Council introduced five low-traffic neighbourhoods – restricting through-fares from cars – across the borough during the pandemic, at Oval Triangle, Railton Road, Ferndale Road, Streatham Hill and Tulse Hill. The LTNs have sparked major local debate, partly as they were introduced through an emergency procedure that limited consultation beforehand.

Hannah Ginnett, the Conservative candidate for Lambeth and Southwark, said while she was ‘very supportive’ of measures to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, the policy needs more consultation: “I’ve been struck by the outcry by affected residents and fully support their movement to scrap these road changes and ask the council to have a complete rethink.” Ms Ginnett says the changes were ‘rushed’.

But George Deacon, co-chair of Lambeth Living Streets, told this paper: “The council is right to trial the changes, let people experience the LTNs and then feed back via live consultations and communicating with councillors.

“The level of interest and debate around these trials has vindicated the council’s approach and means that as a community we are shaping the future of our streets.”

 

One petition on the council website against the low-traffic areas has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures, triggering headlines about the ‘unpopular’ LTNs. However, Lambeth Life has learnt that people are able to sign the petition multiple times with no verification process. 

The paper was able to sign the petition multiple times with the name ‘Anti LTN’ from ‘Timbuktu, Mali’. While signatories are asked to tick that they live, work, or study in Lambeth, there was no email or address verification to show the signatory was a real person with a Lambeth address. 

Mr Deacon told Lambeth Life he was concerned that people from outside the borough could be signing and sharing the petition.

The council is collecting data on the real-world effects of the LTNs, and the process concludes with a formal consultation on making them permanent or scrapping them.

Lambeth Cyclists, which supports the LTNs, pointing to recent surveys showing the local LTNs are ‘very popular’. “The research shows in Lambeth they are about twice as likely to benefit the less well off.”

In a survey, seven in ten Tulse Hill residents backed the new Low Traffic Neighbourhood, including 55% of people who drive a car. 

 

Credit: Safer Streets for Tulse Hill

 

 

 

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