Last night (12/1/2022) Lewisham Council’s Mayor and Cabinet Committee decided to make the Lee Green LTN permanent. While other London boroughs are removing their LTNs due to residents’ objections, Lewisham is sticking to its dogmatic approach that an LTN is good for you. That’s despite all the evidence to the contrary and the majority of responses to their public consultation opposing retention (see previous blog post here: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2022/01/07/lewisham-ltn-to-be-made-permanent/ ).
There was a good speech by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah whose daughter died following an asthma attack exacerbated by the air pollution near the South Circular. But she was ignored. Air pollution on the South Circular (A205) has worsened as a result of the LTN as traffic cannot now avoid the jams on the A205. Rosamund threatened the Council with a judicial review if they did not back down but to no avail.
Comment: as a former sufferer from asthma, I personally think the Council’s attitude is despicable. They may have removed traffic from some roads but they have made other areas much worse. This is not social justice.
In summary the Committee have decided to make the LTN permanent when the evidence was unclear and there was a majority of residents opposed to retaining it. It’s both irrational and a corruption of democracy.
In addition they seem to be ignoring the legal requirement to publish a Permanent Traffic Order (PTO) and allow 21 days for objections before it is implemented. There is a need for a formal consultation process in the case of Permanent Traffic Orders and the use of Temporary Traffic Orders preceding as happened in Lewisham does not exclude that requirement.
The vote to make the LTN permanent was unanimous by the Committee and apart from possible objections to the PTO or legal actions, the only certain way to get the council to reconsider is to change some of the councillors at the upcoming elections in May.
The LibDems spelled out the problem in a recent note which was headlined: “There is no democracy in Lewisham’s one-party state”. See https://www.lewishamlibdems.org.uk/no_democracy_in_lewisham_one_party_state . It’s well worth reading.
They might provide some significant opposition to the dominance of the Labour Party in Lewisham. Other parties that might put up opposition are the Conservatives who have opposed the LTN, and the Reform Party are looking for local election candidates based on an email I recently received. Or of course you could stand as an “independent” which is not difficult to do. Please contact me if you need more information on that.
We certainly need people to step forward to oppose the one-party state that exists in Lewisham where a few people decide policies and everyone else is ignored.
We will be giving recommendations at a later date on who Lewisham residents should vote for subject to sight of their manifestos first and their views on the LTN.
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