Residents left horrified after black oil is poured over planters in Lambeth Low Traffic Neighbourhood

By Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter

Residents were “horrified” on Friday morning to find black oil poured all over planters in a low traffic neighbourood (LTN) in Lambeth.

The liquid, branded “dangerous and filthy for kids walking to school”, was also poured over the plants in the wooden barriers in Tulse Hill.

Rachel Mantell tweeted out a photo of the “grim” vandalism.

She said: “I’m still actually really quite horrified by this. Local streets’ WhatsApp groups all discussing clean up, how we keep kids and animals away from it, all absolutely horrified.

“This is one person with issues way beyond the LTN. But look at the rage in that act. Horrible.”

Lambeth began implementing LTNs, sets of road closures with the aim of reducing car use and promoting active travel, under Covid-19 emergency measures last year.

Pics credit: Credit Dr Simon Cathcart

The schemes have been contentious. While there is significant support for the LTNs – the amount varies per scheme and borough – there has also been significant pushback.

Lambeth was recently brought to court over the closures – the disabled resident’s arguments were dismissed.

Last year a Labour survey found that 71 per cent of residents backed the Tulse Hill scheme (55 per cent of drivers).

There are six LTNs in Lambeth – Streatham Hill, Tulse Hill, Cornwall Road, Ferndale, Railton, Oval and Stockwell.

Vandals frequently target the planters or cameras enforcing the road blocks.

Earlier this month all the cameras in the Streatham Hill LTN were rendered useless after someone plastered black paint on them.

Tulse Hill councillor and deputy Ben Kind said in the hours after people saw what happened, he had “more local people tell me they now support the LTN scheme than all of those who contacted me to oppose it since it was introduced last year”.

He said: “We’ll continue to listen to everyone’s views on these temporary schemes (some want to ignore that LTNs are only a trial) especially those who want to engage constructively.

“But vandalism like this is never justified and is doing the opposite of what those who oppose LTNs want.

“Valid concerns about the impact of LTNs on some people are being undermined by those who know they can’t argue their case convincingly.

“This vandalism isn’t being done to tackle pollution/congestion, to help Blue Badge holders, carers, parents or people who drive for work.

“Ironically, given those committing the vandalism want to see LTNs removed, all the vandalism does is delay the trial – meaning it stays in place longer and increases the number of people now calling for permanent physical changes to roads rather than camera enforced filters.”

Since the vandalism was discovered, little purple hearts have been placed on the planter which read “love Tulse Hill”.



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