Keith Prince AM: Right choice on Low-Traffic areas
Havering has made a lucky escape from the chaos Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods have caused across parts of Greater London. Wisely, the Conservative-run Havering Council chose to sit back and watch instead of rushing in new anti-car measures which are causing uproar in other boroughs. These are the lessons we should learn from failed schemes elsewhere and what the rest of the capital should learn from Havering Council.
The most glaring lesson is that rushed schemes to reduce congestion without public consultation will inevitably cause problems. Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) are meant to stop rat running and improve the lives of residents in areas blighted by congestion. However, without input from residents, these schemes can cause chaos rather than improve people's lives.
The Labour-ran Redbridge Council next door decided to rush in an LTN in Barkingside with a week's notice instead of taking the time to work through sensible measures with residents. One of the most worrying consequences has been the impact on emergency services. So far, the scheme has disturbed an ambulance for so long that the pensioner waiting for help collapsed and delayed a fire engine rushing to an incident.
However, the consequences don't stop there; the LTN scheme also has caused chaos on the roads, creating congestion and endangering the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. Local residents are complaining that not only are the inappropriate measures disrupting their lives but are making their community less safe. This is because although the scheme traps police cars, criminals on mopeds and motorbikes can make quick and easy getaways.
As the London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, I have seen two tales of LTNs in both boroughs. Havering's Conservative Council decided against rushed schemes, while Redbridge's Labour Council imposed damaging anti-car measures with no consultation. It's clear which borough council made the right choice.
Article by Keith Prince AM first published in the Romford Recorder.