New Petition: Remove LTNs and Greenwash Traffic Schemes 

Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), so called “clean air zones” and new, underused cycle lanes are all deeply unpopular. So much so that a new petition has recently appeared on the UK Parliament website ( ) demanding a revision to the statutory guidance that brought them in. Instead of there being a presumption they remain, local authorities (which would include the Mayor of London) should be required to remove them, unless, within three months, they can show there is more than 50% public support, using broad, unbiased, independent, local opinion research.

The petition expresses deep frustration that many recently introduced traffic schemes, often justified by bogus green claims, have, by reducing road space, caused gridlock, increased pollution on busy roads, generated £ millions in fines and charges and been implemented with little or no local approval.

Exacerbated by failure properly to consult residents, they have also caused bitterness and division in local communities; increased response times of emergency vehicles and disadvantaged the most vulnerable in society, who can’t walk or cycle. Where consultation has taken place, there have been instances when the methodology has been biased, which is why the petition calls for unbiased, independent research to validate the retention of new traffic schemes. 

David Tarsh, the petition promoter (pictured above) said: “These traffic schemes are the worst kind of greenwash, reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984; there’s a “safer cycle pathway” that is more dangerous, low traffic neighbourhoods that increase congestion, and extension of a clean air zone that will make a negligible improvement in air quality. The hidden agenda is an extortion racket based on demonising motorists and exploiting them for cash, under the cover of claiming to save the planet. The consequences are social division, economic damage, removal of liberty and discrimination against the least fortunate. They are counterproductive and the way they have been introduced is deeply corrupt.”

Sections 16-18 of the Traffic Management Act, place a duty on local authorities to secure the expeditious movement of traffic on their road networks. However, in May 2020, during the pandemic, the then Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, launched a £250m active travel fund to promote walking and cycling. It was justified on the basis that with a 2m social distancing rule, public transport could only accommodate 10% of its usual capacity on many parts of the network; so, people would need to be encouraged to walk and cycle. New statutory guidance, conflicting with sections 16-18 of the Act, told local authorities to reallocate road space to walking and cycling, with a view to making the new schemes permanent. Furthermore, the assumption should be that they will be retained unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary.

Just five months later, the Daily Mail ran a headline saying. “Transport Secretary Grant Shapps admits too many new cycle lanes are ‘unused’ leaving streets ‘backed up’ with traffic as he warns councils over increase in road closures… even though the routes were built using £250m fund HE unveiled”. Subsequently, some cycle lanes were dismantled. However, others remained, as did the statutory guidance.

Last October, The Times reported that councils, which implemented low-traffic neighbourhoods during the pandemic, had seen bigger increases in car use than boroughs that did not. While this is compelling evidence that LTNs have contributed to congestion, they have not been dismantled.

Earlier this month, the Telegraph revealed that the new cycleway through Hammersmith, which the local council claims to be “safer”, is actually more dangerous, with the rate of cycle accidents increasing more than three-fold since it was built!

Many LTNs and other pandemic traffic schemes were introduced as “temporary” under Experimental Traffic Orders but despite those orders expiring and social distancing measures no longer being in force, the schemes they approved have not been removed.

All over the UK, there is widespread anger at LTNs and other traffic schemes, with many attracting thousands of signatures objecting to them. Anti LTN petitions online include Ealing, over 12,000; Enfield, over 7,000; Haringey, over 7,000; Islington, over 11,000; Lewisham, over 13,000; Oxford, over 15,000; Birmingham, over 5,000; South Fulham, over 9,000; Tooting, over 12,000.

The most unpopular LTN in the UK is London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ), which the mayor, Sadiq Khan, wants to extend from the North Circular Road to the M25. His plan has attracted over 240,000 objections on and a judicial review backed by five London councils. The mayor’s own impact assessment says that there would be no health benefits from the expansion and almost no air quality benefits, yet he is keen to press ahead anyway, in the face of substantial public opposition. Around two thirds of respondents to Transport for London’s (TFL’s) own consultation were against the expansion and the degree of opposition was much higher amongst those in outer London. 

The full text of the petition is below:

Require councils remove LTNs and underused bike lanes that lack public support

Require local authorities (LAs) remove low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and underused bike lanes that lack public support. Change guidance from assuming they remain to requiring removal, unless, in 3 months, the LA can show > 50% approval, using broad, unbiased, independent, local opinion research.

There’s widespread anger at LTNs and other congesting traffic schemes but LAs are not removing them due to statutory guidance and the money they make.

Many were built with no proper consultation as a pandemic measure; but it is over.

We believe these schemes, often justified by doubtful green claims, undermine the law obliging LAs to expedite traffic flow; and create social division, ghettos, gridlock and local economic damage.

The attack on liberty and persecution of motorists is unfair and must stop. If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the government will respond to it. If it reaches 100,000 it is considered for a debate in Parliament.

Please sign the petition here:


You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Cycle Lane on Kensington High Street Removed

A “temporary” cycle lane on Kensington High Street is being removed – note the reference to “temporary”, it was never intended that it would necessarily be made permanent. It was installed as part of the temporary Covid-19 emergency measures and financed accordingly. But cyclists are angered by its removal.

Johnny Thalassites, lead member for transport in the borough has said: ‘The cycle lane was a trial scheme to help those hopping on bikes during lockdowns and encourage shoppers to the High Street. Businesses and residents have told us loud and clear that they believe the experiment has not worked. We are listening”. The council claims to have received hundreds of emails asking for it to be removed and large numbers of signatures to a petition.

The whole scheme was planned to cost over £700,000 and the council has received £313,000 in funding via TfL’s Streetspace fund for the cycle lanes. But Cycling Commissioner Will Norman is suggesting TfL should ask for the cash back.

This is what the petitioners said on about the scheme: “The Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) has, without much consultation, created bike lanes along Kensington High Street, from Hyde Park all the way to Hammersmith, on both sides of the road, restricting the traffic to one lane for all vehicles (cars, vans, motorbikes, buses, etc.).

Kensington High Street was already a busy road, but as a consequence of this scheme, it has become unmanageable. The traffic East to West is now backing up all the way to the Albert Hall and on some days almost to Knightsbridge, and it is taking an unacceptable amount of time for commuters, workers, families dropping off and picking up from schools, taxi drivers and vans delivering goods to residents and businesses, to cross this crucial bottleneck.

This scheme has introduced chaos to an entire area of West London”. See photo above showing the congestion it caused, from the petition site.

Comment: Reducing road space to include cycle lanes so that a whole traffic lane is removed is never a good idea on busy roads. In addition putting cycle lanes on roads where heavy traffic is present and hence some air pollution is also not a good idea. Best to put them on quieter back streets. But the major objection to this scheme was the lack of public consultation before it was installed. It’s now being removed without public consultation.

The lack of public consultation has meant an enormous waste of money and it could never have been justified by the Covid-19 epidemic.

It is also proposed to remove the cycle lane installed on the Euston Road, and there are many objections to the one on Park Lane where there is a good alternative “off-road” route for cyclists.

We suggest that cycle lanes should be off the road, or cyclists should share road space with other road users as they are perfectly capable of doing. The removal of traffic lanes just causes big problems to other road users and there is never any cost/benefit justification provided. With the number of cyclists using the new “pop-up” cycle lanes being small, most of them could never be justified.  

At least it is good to see that the Council in this case has actually listened to local residents and businesses who mainly opposed the scheme..


You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right in most browsers or by using the Contact page (see under the About tab) to send us a message requesting. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Active Opposition to Cycle Lanes in Enfield

There is a very active campaign against new cycle lanes in the Green Lanes area of Enfield (the A105). They have an impressive web site (see ) and have already pursued a judicial review on the matter. Their complaint is that the cycle scheme will lead to increased congestion, and suggest the cycle lanes should be put on other roads.

They managed to generate over 1,500 objections to a public consultation but Ealing Council have so far ignored the objections.

Comment: It is good to see that there is an active voice against inappropriate cycle lanes where a preference is given to a small minority of road users as against other road users and local residents. Please give them a donation to help them.

Roger Lawson


You can “follow” this blog by clicking on the bottom right.