Organisers estimate that over 2,000 people attended march
Anti-LTN demonstrators in Ealing. Picture: Ken Rake Pictures
A march protesting against Ealing Council’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) was attended by 2,500 people according to the organisers' estimate.
The demonstration which took place Saturday (12 September) called on council leader Julian Bell to consider an immediate review of the existing schemes that have been implemented across the borough and hold a full consultation on existing scheme.
After meeting at 2pm at the Quadrant on South Ealing Road, the protestors proceeded to the Lido Junction on Uxbridge Road, via Northfield Avenue.
The march organisers arrived at their estimate 2,500 people based on the number of stickers handed out to participants. They had ordered 2,000 and ran out well long before people stopped asking for them. It was also pointed out that many people had wished to attend the march but were unable to because of Covid-19. They said that council leader Julian Bell had previously said that only 300 people were likely to turn up and that he therefore needed to reconsider his position on the schemes.
Nearly all of the participants came wearing masks and the organisers said that every effort was made to maintain social distancing.
Many marchers came with bikes to reinforce their claim that they weren't against sustainable transport but believed the Ealing LTNs caused more traffic and pollution.
Some marchers brought their bikes to the protest. Picture: Ken Rake Pictures
The day before the march Wandsworth Council announced that they were going to immediately suspend and dismantle their LTNS and many of the Ealing protestors were urging Julian Bell to do likewise.
LTNs involve blocking entry and exit of vehicles to neighbourhood roads using bollards and planters and have been introduced in the borough using Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs) meaning there has been no formal consultation about them. They are meant to be temporary measures on trial for a six month period and then subject to review.
Picture: Ken Rake Pictures
The demonstrators are claiming that rat-running is not a significant problem in many of the areas where the schemes are being imposed and they are unhappy about the lack of engagement and consultation with the community. In some cases it is alleged that the requirement for vehicles to circle around residential streets has actually increased traffic through LTN areas.
Supporters of the LTNs claim that they have already been successful in reducing traffic in areas where they have been introduced and that they are cutting pollution and making cycling and walking safer.
Other demonstrations against neighbourhood traffic scheme proposals took place across London at the same time including one in Lambeth. A network of residents’ groups is hoping to persuade transport Minister Grant Shapps to intervene to have the schemes abandoned.
Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq has written to Ealing Council to express her concerns over its implementation of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) initiative. Dr Huq, who describes herself as a keen cyclist, has asked 12 in-depth questions in an attempt to ensure the consultation and forthcoming decision-making process is fair, transparent and democratic.
An online petition against LTNs in Ealing has been signed by over 7,200 people. A counter petition in support of the new schemes has, at the time of writing, over 400 signatures.
If you want to make comments on an LTN once it is operational write to COVIDtransport@ealing.gov.uk and TrafficNotices@ealing.gov.uk including your full address.
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September 16, 2020