Say they would support removal if representative consultation was negative
Feelings running high in Ealing on the issue. Picture: David Read/Facebook
Labour Councillors representing wards in which controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes (LTNs) are in the process of being implemented have said they will support their removal should the consultation exercise show representative opposition.
The party controls two of the seats in Northfield ward and all three in Walpole ward. A statement issued on behalf of Cllr Fay Block and Cllr Paul Driscoll of Northfield ward and Cllr Paul Conlan, Cllr Binda Rai and Cllr Gareth Shaw of Walpole ward says, “We have received correspondence from residents, outlining the pros and cons of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) being introduced in Walpole and Northfields Wards. We have noted all the points received and are continuing to reply to all those who have contacted us.
“Residents generally support the broad policy of reducing traffic in the area and also support the longer-term aim of pushing ahead with the green agenda to achieve much needed improvements in both air quality and the environment. Coupled with this is the understanding that less reliance on cars will produce positive health benefits for residents through alternatives modes of travel, such as walking and cycling. This has also been evident during the recent COVID-19 lockdown.
“Current TfL modelling shows large increases in traffic across both wards in the coming months as people choose to avoid public transport and its capacity is greatly reduced. We therefore feel that to do nothing is no longer an option. We believe that LTNs will help open up streets for more people to enjoy rather than streets being dominated by vehicles.”
They see the use of a trial period as a practical way to move forward and learn from constructive engagement and feedback from residents.
The councillors dismiss concerns about emergency service access saying that the various bodies were fully consulted and deemed the schemes did not compromise safety.
They go on to acknowledge concerns about the lack of consultation prior to implementation but point out that given the way the funding has been allocated by the government there was no option other than to use Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs) to introduce schemes. Although there is only a seven day notification period for any access restrictions, there is a six month trial period in which feedback is collected once an LTN is operational. Residents can send their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Cllr David Millican who represents Northfield ward for the Conservative opposition believes that there are few, if any, cases in which a scheme implemented through an ETO was scrapped after the initial trial period.
The Labour councillors commented, “We want all residents of Walpole and Northfields wards to have their say on the schemes on an equal basis. If at the end of the six month trial period, the consultation results prove to be both representative of our residents as well as negative, we would support the move to remove the LTN, i.e. both the collapsible bollards and planters.”
The Labour representatives conclude by saying, “We now ask that you feedback on your experience of the LTN schemes so that we can make a fair and considered judgement at the end of the six month trial period.”
An online petition against the LTNs in Ealing has so far attracted nearly 5,000 signatures.
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August 27, 2020