The Daily Telegraph has run a couple of interesting articles on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) recently. The first one (see Reference 1 below for link to the article) reports that NO2 levels fell substantially in Wandsworth after an LTN was removed. The air pollution increased on main roads where traffic congestion increased, often grinding to a halt during rush hours. There were also problems with access by emergency services to the LTNs.
The article also lists the 31 councils who have removed, modified or cancelled green roads initiatives.
The second article was on the commitment by Nigel Farage and his Reform Party (formerly the Brexit Party) to field candidates who oppose local politicians (“any and everyone”) who support the madness of the Government’s green transport revolution – see Reference 2.
Mr Farage is quoted as saying: “If measures to improve the environment really are necessary, they can only be introduced sensibly and with proper consultation, not sneaked through cynically under the guise of the pandemic”.
Comment: We would certainly agree with that. The Reform Party might gain a lot of supporters in Labour controlled London boroughs such as Lewisham, Lambeth, Croydon and others where LTNs have proved to be deeply unpopular. Such boroughs were seen as good targets for the Brexit Party in the past as the concerns of many working-class voters have been ignored by the new socialist elite.
Emergency Service Access Problems Reported by the London Ambulance Service
The second Telegraph article also mentions a Freedom of Information Act request handled by the Borough of Greenwich (see Reference 3). It includes these comments from the London Ambulance Service:
“The London Ambulance Service (LAS) cannot support any scheme that involves the closure of a road to traffic using static bollards, lockable bollards, coffin bollards, gates or physical barriers like planters. The main reason for this is our vehicles do not carry any form GERDA or FB keys to access these obstacles and delays can be detrimental to patient safety.
Existing schemes already create us problems and gates and bollards are not generally routinely maintained pan London and are difficult to unlock anyway.
The nearest available ambulance is dispatched to a 999 call so we do not profile emergency access routes like the LFB because any crew from across London can be dispatched if they are nearest and this might not be a local crew.
Any delay in response to an address behind closures could be detrimental to patient safety and cause serious harm, injury or even death to a patient due to the ambulance response being delayed.
Consideration also needs to be given to the wider health and social care providers who will need access to address and are on tight schedules. Patient transport ambulance picking patients up for chemotherapy or dialysis appointments, district and community healthcare teams and social care carers will all be delayed by having to navigated additional road closures and restrictions leading to delayed care, welfare issues, humanitarian concerns and potential for emergency admission as a result of delays. Addition missed clinical appointments has a detrimental effect on service delivery and patient flow through the NHS system. Consideration of exemptions for these staff through restrictions would also need to be given.
Although the LAS does support the need to ensure social distancing this cannot be at the detriment of patients calling 999, but currently the use of any kind of bollards/gate/planter to close road is not acceptable”.
Clearly the “modal filters” used in so many LTN schemes are not advisable such as that blocking access to an ambulance in Lee Green (photo above). . Such objections may be why Councils are now installing camera systems to close roads instead. But that just creates complaints about the number of PCNs generated through inadvertent mistakes.
Reference 1: Pollution rose in Low Traffic Neighbourhood: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/05/exclusive-pollution-rises-low-traffic-neighbourhoods/
Reference 2: Nigel Farage’s roads election pledge: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/05/exclusive-nigel-farages-roads-election-pledge/
Reference 3: London Ambulance Service FOI Letter: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/low_traffice_neighbourhood_corre_7#incoming-1657822
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