Croydon Decides on ANPR to Close LTN

The Cabinet of Croydon Council has approved Councillor Muhammad Ali’s decision to implement ANPR cameras in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood area to enforce a Low Traffic Neighbourhood. This is despite all the evidence, opposition from local residents and a public consultation. This decision also affects residents in the adjacent borough of Bromley who may yet have some say in the matter (they previously threatened legal action).

The previous closure created horrendous traffic congestion and no doubt it will now come back. This is a completely undemocratic decision and the only option remaining is probably a legal challenge for which we believe there are good grounds.

Although there may be some exceptions made to the enforcement, these are public roads which should be available to everyone.

You can obtain the 450 page report to the Scrutiny and Overview Committee on the 23rd March on which the decision by Mr Ali was presumably based from here: https://tinyurl.com/a4j9ysn5

Roger Lawson

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LTNs Collapsing Under Public and Legal Pressure – Croydon the Latest

Several Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes have been abandoned and the latest one to collapse has been that in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood area of Croydon.

This is what local MP Ellie Reeves said in a latter to the Council after a consultation was undertaken:

“The consultation outcome is now known and the results set out below:

– 26% in favour of changing the scheme to ANPR

– 15% in favour of retaining the existing scheme

– 61% in favour of removing the scheme entirely

An overwhelming number, 61% of residents, voted for the removal of the scheme entirely. However, I understand that Croydon Council is looking at implementing ANPR cameras instead. This is not what local residents voted for. This is not what local residents want. There was a high turnout of 25.29% of residents responding, it is important to note that traffic scheme consultation would usually expect a 10-15% response rate. I am surprised that the Council’s report has implied a higher turnout was needed for the results of the consultation to be carried out as expressed by local people who have to live with the decisions they have voted for”.

Yes the Council will be removing the existing scheme almost immediately but they are proposing to bring in an ANPR (i.e. camera enforced) scheme to replace it. Such a scheme will provide exemptions to local residents and other selected groups. They also need to take some legal advice after the recent High Court judgement on the Mayor’s Streetspace plans.

This is what one local resident said about such a proposal: “Where do you draw the line with the permit? Each case looks fair on its own, but you end up with so many permits you might as well not bother”. We totally agree with that view. We are opposed to permit schemes or timed road closures. They are very expensive to operate and camera enforcement just enables the local council to generate enormous amounts of money in fines through accidental infringements.

In Lewisham over a million pounds has been extracted in this way in a few weeks. Above is a picture of signed bus gate enforced by ANPR in Manor Park which shows how confusing the signs can be. The “No Entry” sign in theory stops buses going through making it the shortest bus lane on record.

The opposition to fines in Lewisham, where many people have collected tens of them racking up thousands of pounds in fines, has resulted in multiple appeals to the London Tribunal and surprisingly it is reported that many have been upheld.

The quote above from a local resident in Croydon comes from a publication I shall call “Insidious Croydon” as they always make abusive comments about us. This publication suggests that the local campaign against the LTN in Croydon called “Open Our Roads” is backed by us and that the Council has caved in to motoring lobby groups. This is simply wrong. We made a token donation to Open Our Roads, as we have to other anti-LTN groups in London. But we have no influence over the Croydon campaign which was created and run by local residents. It’s the ordinary vehicle owners in Croydon (and the neighbouring borough of Bromley whose residents have also been badly affected by the scheme) who hate the road closures and the traffic congestion they have created.

Open Our Roads is still pursuing legal action on the Croydon scheme. See this web page for other anti-LTN campaign groups in London and their funding of legal action: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/london-road-closures.htm

The conclusion is obvious. The majority of local residents oppose LTN schemes where they have been imposed. And that includes people who do not even own vehicles. If it was not for central Government and the Mayor of London encouraging and financing such schemes, using the Covid-19 epidemic as an excuse, they would never have been adopted. Bear that in mind the next time you vote.

Roger Lawson

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Make Lee Green and Croydon Committee Review of LTN

It has come to my attention that a leaflet has been circulated in Lewisham by an organisation (or one person) called “Make Lee Green”. It argues that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are a big part of the solution to make “A safer, healthier, more sustainable Lewisham”. It then quotes some very selective and misleading statistics.

For example it says “80% of journeys in London will be made by foot, bike or public transport by 2041”. That may be the Mayor of London’s objectives as published in his Mayor’s Transport Strategy a couple of year’s ago but the chance of this happening is very low. The recent trends tell us that the Mayor is nowhere near on target to achieve that. For outer London boroughs it is very unlikely to be met. For example, for the whole of London, before the pandemic hit, the figure was just over 60% but with lockdown measures continuing, the overall “active, efficient and sustainable” mode share – public transport, walking and cycling – could in fact be “the lowest seen in London since the early 2000’s, and not be back at 2019 levels until well into 2021″, the latest report concludes (see links below).

A lot of the journeys are by bus and how are buses more sustainable than cars? They are not, and bus users are not participating in active travel and neither are they necessarily “efficient” if people have to go on round about routes to reach their destinations.

Overall traffic volumes have actually been falling in London in recent years, particularly car trips, but LGV and PHV trips have increased as more people use internet shopping and more people use services such as Uber. These both tend to be trips on minor roads to access local premises and homes, but LTNs do not remove those trips.

So who is publishing and circulating these misleading Make Lee Green leaflets? There is no name and address on the leaflet and neither is there any on their associated web site, where they are even using a proxy service to conceal the identity of the web site owners. In summary the leaflets are simply a piece of distorted propaganda from someone who prefers to remain anonymous. Is it more than one person? We should be told.

OnLondon Travel Report: https://www.onlondon.co.uk/latest-travel-in-london-report-details-extent-of-covids-impact-on-capitals-transport/

Travel in London Survey: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2019/12/27/travel-in-london-survey-how-its-being-made-more-difficult/

Croydon Committee Review of LTN

I mentioned previously the report on the LTN in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood area of Croydon. It was discussed by the Traffic Management Advisory Committee last night (12/1/2021). Ian Plowright, Head of Transport, gave a very misleading summary of the report and the new proposals to convert the LTN to an “experimental” scheme using ANPR cameras to enforce. Eliska Finlay, representing “Open our roads” gave a good speech in support of scrapping the LTN altogether (see https://webcasting.croydon.gov.uk/meetings/11439 for a recording of the meeting).

The views of committee members were 2 in support of the ANPR scheme but 3 were against. It will now depend on decisions by the Chair of the Committee and others. But there is a good chance the whole scheme will be abandoned. That is particularly bearing in mind that the funding of an ANPR scheme will require approval of funding by both TfL and the DfT which may not be forthcoming.

In summary this was an ill-conceived scheme which has had very negative consequences for residents of that part of Croydon but also in neighbouring boroughs, particularly Bromley. It should be scrapped as soon as possible.

The public survey responses were quite clear. The LTN scheme in Croydon is not wanted. No doubt Lewisham residents would say the same thing if they were asked about their LTN, as would residents in other London boroughs who have been suffering the consequences of these ill-thought out schemes.

Roger Lawson

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Croydon LTN Supported by Council Despite Overwhelming Public Opposition

Croydon Council introduced a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood areas using Temporary Traffic Orders a few months ago. In included road closures on such roads as Auckland Road (see photo above). The closures generated a very large number of complaints about increased traffic congestion and generally making life more difficult for residents including opposition from the neighbouring borough of Bromley into which traffic was diverted. A campaign group called “Open Our Roads” was formed to oppose the closures (see https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2020/10/18/crystal-palace-campaign-against-road-closures/ ).

Croydon Council have undertaken a public consultation on the LTN and produced a report on the survey results. This will now be considered by a Traffic Management Advisory Committee on the 12th January. See link before for the report. It’s 370 pages long so here are some key points to note from it:

  1. They propose to remove the measures implementing the LTN but propose to replace them with a scheme based on an Experimental Traffic Order. This will include a number of road closures enforced by ANPR cameras from which they will no doubt generate considerable revenue, although there will be some exemptions for local residents. Note that in December Croydon effectively declared bankruptcy by issuing a Section 114 notice due to financial mismanagement over several years by the ruling Labour administration. They are desperate to raise income it seems.
  • These proposals are being made despite 75% of residents within the LTN area opposing the retention of the scheme and 62% opposing the introduction of an ANPR scheme. Some 61% want the scheme removed altogether with only 23% opposing – these are very decisive numbers for any public survey and do not even include responses from those living outside the LTN who responded.
  • There was very decisive opposition from areas such as SE19, SE20, SE25 and within Bromley.
  • Journey times in areas such as the Crystal Palace Triangle showed “moderate to significant” increases in peak periods, with a “serious” increase in the PM peak.

The proposal to retain any part of the LTN scheme is clearly totally undemocratic. They argue that the survey done was not a “truly representative picture of local views” which is surely nonsense. It is certainly no justification for continuing with the LTN and imposing an Experimental Traffic Order.

Will Councillors do what their residents want or ignore them in the name of pursuing a response to the “Climate Emergency” they have declared? We will soon see. But they should bear in mind that there is no evidence that LTNs create any overall benefits in terms of air pollution because it often just means drivers have to drive further to get to their chosen destinations and sit in traffic jams for longer.

Unfortunately Croydon is one those London Councils where Councillors decisions are apparently driven by dogma and not by logic.

Report to Traffic Management Committee: https://tinyurl.com/y57nbcse

Daily Telegraph Report: https://tinyurl.com/y53xcf4t

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Croydon Streetspace Consultation

The London Borough of Croydon has launched a public consultation on their “Streetspace” proposals. Namely the road closures that have hit residents in the Crystal Palace and South Norwood areas under the guise of a “Low Traffic Neighbourhood” when it has been anything but that. Traffic congestion has been horrendous and has even impacted roads in the adjacent borough of Bromley.

They are also consulting on Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Broad Green and Albert Road with the former including a permit scheme for residents. There are also proposals for the Town Centre.

See https://new.croydon.gov.uk/croydon-streetspace for details – see bottom right for an open on-line consultation on the Crystal Palace and South Norwood scheme. This is the opportunity to have your say so please complete it!

These measures are claimed to be temporary but if the Council gets enough support they will undoubtedly make them permanent in due course. There is an active campaign against the closures under the name “Open Our Roads” who have already filed for a judicial review of the Council’s actions.

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Sadiq Khan Bailed Out Again and Legal Action Over LTNs

A deal was done over the weekend to keep Transport for London (TfL) afloat – at least temporarily. The Mayor’s Press Release issued yesterday (see below) was headlined “Mayor sees off plan to extend C-Charge as deal reached on TfL funding” which is a typical bit of political point scoring from Sadiq Khan. There was of course an enormous amount of opposition to extending the Congestion Charge (a.k.a. Tax) to a wider area as so many people would have been affected. But the Mayor has had to concede to some changes to keep London’s public transport system functioning until next March.

Some of the details are:

£1.8 billion of Government grant and borrowing made available – but note the increase in borrowing when TfL already has too much debt.

Concessionary fares will remain for older and younger Londoners.

Public transport fares will only increase as previously agreed.

Transport for London to make £160m of savings this financial year, and City Hall will need to raise additional income to protect concessions for older and younger Londoners for future years – if the Mayor wants to continue these. But where is he going to make those savings or raise the additional income from? It does not say.

A modest increase in council tax is to be looked at and the temporary changes to the central London Congestion Charge that were introduced in June 2020 will remain, i.e. they are likely to become permanent.

As one commentator said, this looks like kicking the can down the road as it will not solve the basic imbalance between income and expenditure in TfL over the next 6 months so come next March some tougher decisions will need to be made. It is very unlikely that the impact of the Covid-10 epidemic will have disappeared by then.

Postscript: the full terms of the bail-out have now been published in the Government’s letter to Sadiq Khan. See https://tinyurl.com/yyyxnvnp . You can see why he might be furious over the outcome because it makes it clear that TfL will remain under Government scrutiny and the Mayor has to come up with a sensible and “sustainable” financial plan for it.

Legal Action Over LTNs

The Daily Telegraph has reported on the commencement of legal action against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in Enfield which we covered in a previous blog post. See link below to full article. It refers to “Emergency Traffic Orders” when I think it is talking about Temporary or Experimental Traffic Orders introduced under the Emergency Procedures introduced in June because of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Telegraph articles also refers to legal challenges being mounted in Croydon and Lambeth. The OneLambeth campaign are raising funds for the legal challenge – see https://www.gofundme.com/f/OneLambeth . Please support them.

It will be worthwhile to follow these legal cases and we hope to report more details in due course.

Just to show how strongly the residents of Crystal Palace (Croydon) feel about the road closures, see this YouTube video of a demonstration over the weekend:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMrQna7tFmM

Telegraph Article: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/10/31/green-roads-council-becomes-first-taken-court-campaigners-say/

Emergency Traffic Order Procedures: https://tinyurl.com/ybns7rwx

Mayor of London Press Release: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-reaches-deal-on-tfl-funding

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Crystal Palace Road Closures – Legal Action Threatened

One of the areas hit by road closures by Croydon Council is the Triangle area of Crystal Palace. The roads Sylvan Hill, Stambourne Way and Fox Hill have been closed using the typical “emergency” measures seen elsewhere. But the problem is that this has caused traffic to divert onto roads in the adjacent borough of Bromley.

According to a report in “Inside Croydon” (see https://insidecroydon.com/2020/08/18/bromley-in-legal-moves-against-croydon-over-road-closures/ ) Bromley Council leader Colin Smith has threatened legal action because they were not consulted about these closures. He says the closures are causing “abject misery and inconvenience to Bromley residents on a daily basis”.

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Climate Assemblies Exposed As Platforms For Extremists

Croydon Citizens’ Climate Assembly wants totalitarian kangaroo climate courts for net zero non-believers. At first it seemed like the LTT article (1) on the London Borough of Croydon Citizens’ Climate Assembly Report was an April Fool joke, but the actual report (2) does contain the following on page 5:

“People who fail to support the law of net zero greenhouse gas emissions should be identified and penalised. We want the majority of socially responsible residents supported and recognised for contributions they make. We also want to see those who let us down identified and penalised.”

It appears that Croydon Council wish to introduce some “thought police” as in George Orwell’s novel to tell us what we should believe.

UK Net Zero policy should be scrutinised by all voters via a proper democratic process including a full cost-benefit analysis (3) rather than by a selected few overseen by biased advisors, which include Extinction Rebellion. In a free and democratic society people are entitled to hold their own views and make their own travel and lifestyle decisions. It’s ridiculous that a supposedly Conservative government is pandering to environmental extremists by supporting the setting up of assemblies dominated by extremists to advise on decisions that will negatively impact the economy and our lifestyles when there is not likely to be any beneficial impact on global CO2 emissions, weather or climate.”

Ends

Notes for Editors

(1) Local Transport Today: Punish people who don’t back net zero: https://www.transportxtra.com/publications/local-transport-today/news/65037/-punish-people-who-don-t-back-net-zero-

(2) Croydon Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change Report:  https://democracy.croydon.gov.uk/documents/s21475/Appendix%201%20Final%20report%20on%20Citizens%20Assembly%20on%20Climate%20Change.pdf

(3) Petition: Hold a referendum to scrap the UK’s policy of Net Zero CO2 by 2050   https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300316

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Croydon Permit Parking Charges – Public Ignored

The London Borough of Croydon has published the responses to their consultation on changes to parking charges that will result in large increases, particularly for certain vehicles. It will mean the permit parking charge for a vehicle emitting more than 225 g/km of CO2 will rise from £80 to £300. There will also be an additional surcharge of 30% for pre-2015 diesel vehicles and it is also proposed to introduce similar increases for Pay & Display parking spaces.

Councillors have decided to push ahead with the proposals despite the fact that of the 148,000 cars registered in Croydon only 9,000 pay for parking permits. So the impact on air pollution in Croydon will be negligible even if some residents respond by changing their vehicles. As most of the air pollution comes from buses, HGVs and LGVs, charging resident car owners in the name of reducing pollution is pointless.

But the Council will make as much as £162,000 in additional permit charges each year which gives you some idea of the motive for this change.

There were 1,149 responses to the public consultation of which 1,039 submitted objections (i.e. 90%) with only 62 responses in support. Some 19% of respondents suggested this was simply a way for the council to generate income, and they were certainly correct on that point. The council’s response to that was to say the parking charges were insufficient to reduce the number of cars on the roads of Croydon.

You can read all the responses to the public consultation and the Council’s report here: https://tinyurl.com/y3o4oby2 . Here’s a summary of one response: “It is a tax on the poor. It’s not fair on those people who cannot afford to buy a new card…. It is another poverty tax…..”.

Comment: This is a typical example of doing a public consultation and then ignoring the result, apart from ignoring the logic and likely impact of the proposal. Regrettably Labour controlled councils such as Croydon often adopt the stance of ignoring the views of the public because Councillors think they know better what is good for you. I hope that those impacted will bear this in mind at the next borough elections.

Roger Lawson

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Higher Permit Parking Charges in Croydon, Kingston and Lewisham

We previously covered the increase in permit parking charges in Camden – see https://tinyurl.com/y2tw5kcd . This will particularly affect users of larger vehicles that emit more CO2 and diesel engined vehicles and are described as “Emission Based Parking Charges”.

Now Croydon, Kingston and Lewisham are proposing similar changes. In Croydon it will mean the permit parking charge for a vehicle emitting more than 225 g/km of CO2 will rise from £80 to £300. There will also be an additional surcharge of 30% for pre-2015 diesel vehicles. It is also proposed to introduce similar increases for Pay & Display Parking Spaces. There is more information and a link to the full council report in this Inside Croydon article: https://tinyurl.com/y4pfwj99

The justification is to reduce air pollution and help with climate change when levels of CO2 have no impact on public health whatsoever – if anything higher CO2 levels have benefits for plants and animals. So it’s fundamentally misconceived. There is also no evidence that such charges will have any impact on air pollution as anyone with off-street parking will not be affected, many vehicles that drive on Croydon roads do not park in the borough and most problem emissions such as particulates are from buses, HGVs and LGVs which won’t be affected.

Although the Council has not yet published the impact it will have on money raised by the borough from permit parking charges, it is likely to lead to very substantial increases. Readers are reminded that permit parking charges can not be used as a revenue raising measure. This is well established by previous legal cases (Camden v Cran and in Barnet).

There will be a public consultation on these proposals – Croydon residents are encouraged to respond.

Kingston Council

Very similar proposals are also being put forward by Kingston Council. See https://tinyurl.com/yxdss7do . In Kingston the highest rate will be £350 per annum plus an additional £50 for diesel vehicles (even diesel hybrid ones). Affected residents should submit objections.

These changes are undoubtedly being encouraged by Transport for London (TfL) as part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. But the attempt to improve public health by introducing emission based parking charges is fundamentally misconceived and will not work. It’s all about money as usual with Councils of late.

Roger Lawson

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