Lambeth council has introduced several temporary Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes across Lambeth to promote social distancing and active travel in response to the Covid pandemic.
As a lifelong Lambeth resident and mum to two young children, I welcome the LTN’s and am supportive of the objectives that underpin the LTN’s because improving air quality across Lambeth is essential to reduce Lambeth’s air pollution which has been unsustainably high for years.
We also need to make cycling and walking safer in our borough, to encourage us to lead more active lives – wherever possible.
But after a year of trials, the schemes continue to generate a high volume of emotive feedback from residents, both positive and negative. It is one of the main issues that constituents contact me about.
And as your MP, I have been following this issue very closely and feeding back your views to the council on a regular basis.
The benefits of the scheme are clear: safer, cleaner and quieter streets for residents to live, play and travel on. I believe that the benefits have to be distributed equitably across communities, however I am worried that the schemes may have had unintended consequences for some constituents.
The impact some of these changes are having on residents and small businesses, such as an increase in traffic diverted on to neighbouring roads, has been difficult for the people who live and work in these neighbourhoods.
They have not experienced the benefits of an LTN. And not everyone in Lambeth is able to walk or cycle or use public transport.
I have driven since I was 16 as I used to take my mother to her various hospital and GP appointments, and I was her nominated driver when she used the Motability scheme.
It would have been very difficult for my mother to use the bus and this is the reality for many disabled residents.
That is why it’s essential that the concerns local communities have about these schemes are listened to and acted on before any of these changes are made permanent.
The most important stage of public engagement will be the statutory consultation which begins in the autumn.
If the LTNs are to enjoy the widespread consent of our communities, the statutory consultation process must be clear, transparent and easy for the public to submit their views.
It is equally important that feedback is evaluated systematically and used to shape the final decisions on the future of the LTN’s.
Myself and my fellow Lambeth MP’s have asked the council to publish the criterion upon which these decisions will be made, to increase transparency and public understanding of the processes being used to balance the many and varied considerations involved.
In my capacity as your MP, I have no influence over the decision, design or implementation of the LTNs; the process is solely managed by Lambeth council under the strategic framework of TfL’s Streetspace for London programme.
But I will continue to monitor the situation closely, feed your views back to the council, and hold them to account on your behalf to
ensure that a full and proper consultation on the future of these schemes is conducted.
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