Cllr Maria Alexandrou shares her Fox Lane LTN submission
This article by Winchmore Hill Councillor Maria Alexandrou, whose ward covers part of the Fox Lane LTN. It is is based on her official submission to the consultation, cataloguing the many concerns she has about the scheme; reflected in the hundreds of emails and other correspondence she has had with residents and businesses in the local area.
I urge Enfield Council to listen to the residents of Enfield who are telling you about the problems that the implementation of these schemes have caused,
which are not going to go away. The key objectives of the Fox Lane LTN have failed. There is no evidence that the residents within the scheme or in the wider area are making less use of their vehicles and overall more miles and therefore more pollution are being generated by this so-called 'climate change' initiative.
There was no mandate to progress with these road closures
* Why have an LTN in Fox Lane when the Mayor's Street Space for London's Strategic Neighbourhood Analysis puts this area in the lowest category for suitability namely traffic filtering, schools,deprivation and car ownership?
* The Fox Lane area consists of large houses with huge rear gardens and access to nearby beautiful parks and green spaces and walking distance to public transport.
* There has been a lack of proper community engagement and consultation. Whatsmore, the council's own survey indicates over 75% were against the original Quieter Neighbourhood scheme and that even within the LTN less than 20% supported the scheme.
* The current LTN scheme, introduced under the emergency COVID-19 Street Space legislation, is only a minor amendment of the earlier rejected proposals and imposed without overwhelming rejection from local residents, with no further community (virtual) meetings held. Even the ward councillors were ignored.
* The council deliberately misrepresented its results to proceed with an unpopular scheme.
The values and opinions of residents have been disregarded
* Online consultation is discriminatory to the elderly, the disabled and vulnerable who may not own a laptop or mobile phone or understand the process to object or voice their opinion. It took the council many months before contacting over 10,500 blue badge holders after lots of vocal protests; hence the need to extend the consultation.
* No paper copies were easily available for consultations.
* No transparent colour coded heat maps of responses to show yes or no support for LTNs.
* No equality assessments have been forthcoming, with no provision to support blue badge holders and they have been impacted the most.
* The council has ignored how difficult life has become for many people that rely on car transport to go to hospital, to receive care or for other essential journeys.
* Longer journeys negatively affect most local residents but particularlythose with health, physical and mental health problems, incontinent problems, respiratory illnesses, degenerative conditions, pregnant etc.
* People living on surrounding roads to the LTNs were never consulted yet they are impacted the most. Information was only provided by the council to people who live within the LTN. The negative impact of LTN- elderly, disabled, vulnerable, and residents living outside LTNs has never been accessed.
* LTN increases total pollution in the borough. This has been shown in Bowes ward following the implementation of the first LTN. Pollution has increased along the Bowes road where the primary school is situated. The evidence is from real time monitoring at Bowes primary school.
* There is significanly increased traffic on roads like Green Lanes, Aldermans Hill and Bourne Hill have created traffic gridlock, journey delays for buses and traffic noise; over a pmndemic period when many people are making fewer journeys than normal.. The thousands of photos showing congestion on the roads around the Fox Lane LTN clearly demonstrate the scale of the problem that the closures have caused. Pollution has been pushed onto boundary roads around LTNs from the displaced traffic forced onto nearby and main roads.
A study by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council states "an idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. These can effect the air quality of the surrounding environment and the air we breathe"
* This increased air pollution is experienced by residents who live on these surrounding residential roads; pedestrians but most worryingly it being inhaled by children walking along these main roads to get to school - who are being encouraged to walk to school.
* Yet, there is a lack of any meaningful air pollution monitoring. The council did not take baseline measures of air quality before installing road barriers and did not instal emission monitoring devices for air quality. Another London council, Wandsworth, measured nitrogen dioxide on the roads next to the LTNs and found that pollution increased. Once the road closures were removed, the nitrogen dioxide and toxic car pollutant levels on the surrounding roads fell dramatically.
* The diesel powered council enforcement vehicles engine idling for many hours a day to monitor cars entering the LTNs ,including outside a nursery school negates their climate change agenda
No Traffic evaporation
* There has been no traffic evaporation, nor is there likely to be, because most of these trips are deemed to be essential by the residents and businesses who make them, despite the Council repeatedly using the derogatory term 'rat runners' for people going about the daily lives. The council's attempt to hold Waltham Forest as a model of the success of an LTN is highly questionable, as the evidence from government statistical data proves LTNs have pushed traffic onto surrounding roads and traffic volumes increased 15% since LTNs were introduced. Traffic increased more in Waltham Forest than any other London Borough.Traffic has been pushed onto roads that were already noisy, congested and polluted.
PCN fines exceed £2m
* Since the cameras on the perimeter of the LTN were installed, the council has accrued over £2m in PCN fines. The Meadway is the worst with £1m fines received which proves the signage is inadequate and confusing. given the enormous number of infringmements, surely the Council should have done more to improve the signage, which are still poorly positioned and it's unclear whether residents can pass through? In Fox Lane I've seen many drivers do dangerous 3 point turns in the middle of the road once they realise they cannot drive through.
Lack of impact assessments business and emergency services
* The council has failed to carry out important impact assessments on how LTNs will economically affect businesses. Businesses are complaining of loss of trade as customers are stuck in traffic and give up trying to get to the business. Not only has this resulted in lost revenue, but also it is has meant that many of their customers are going elshwere, to places which are more convenient for them to reach.
* Businesses that rely on road transport such as builders, plumbers, electricians etc face delays and loss of business for essential work.
*Deliveries, including urgent ones, such as vital medicines get stuck in traffic.
* Emergency services clearly stated their objections to LTNs as I have seen the emails so these cannot be ignored. Every minute lost to an ambulance journey being hindered can be dangerous and could potentially result in a death. Again there is significant photographic evidence of delays caused to emergency services stuck in traffic and unable to pass through congested roads.
Impact on crime & fear of crime
* On streetcheck.co.Uk-N13 4RB Fox Lane 0.5 mile radius shows violent and sexual crime increased within the Fox Lane LTN roads between October to December after their implementation
No impact on crime has been assessed.
* A report by Ealing Council said police warned LTNs help criminals evade capture as barriers provide escape routes whilst blocking access to police and create dark silent crime hotspots. LTNs provide 'security' for criminals not law abiding residents.
* Parents report that they are driving to pick up their children now as they don't feel it's safe whereas they let them walk home before. This means more unnecessary car journeys
LTNs causing problems for women in particular
* Women have reported feeling unsafe as there is now less passing traffic on LTN roads making a walk home in a dark quiet deserted road scary as the natural surveillance of cars going up and down the roads has vanished. They say that they feel a heightened sense of fear which is unacceptable.
* It is still the case that women carry more of the burden of household and parental responsibilities, which mean that they rely on cars to juggle a multitude of responsibilities in their every day lives- for example work, take kids to school, care for their parents and neighbours, disabilities, taking people to hospital appointments; including household shopping - which the Council have failed to acknowledge.
Many have told me tht this is having a severe impact on their mental health and some are considering stopping work which will impact on their financial status.
Social injustice and community divisions
* The Land Registry statistics between 2016-2020 reveal that property prices within LTNs are higher than on boundary roads. According to an analysis by The Times (13.2.21), average property prices within the new zones are up to 70% higher than on surrounding roads which is disproportionately benefiting residents within the LTNs. LTNs have disrupted the lives of those on poorer roads with traffic fumes and pollution pushed into poorer areas, living in smaller terraced houses and with little chance of moving out of the area. Traffic congestion and fumes are pushed onto less affluent areas such as Bowes where houses are much cheaper than houses in the Fox Lane area and this increases inequality.
*With 33% of Londoners living near a busy road accordingly the Kings College 2019 report, more traffic is pushed onto these main roads causing residents including children to suffer these choking traffic fumes
Failure to address other highways issues
* Whilst the Council has been so preoccupied with LTNs, other pressing issues such as the poor provision of electric charge points; improving the pavements to make it safer for people to walk around have not been addressed.
* A number of other London councils, including Croydon, Sutton, Wandsworth and most recently Harrow and Croydon have withdrawn LTNs, because the overwhelming evidence that they were causing problems for their residents. There are a growing numbe rof legal challenges; Sutton Council, for example have said that they have no choice given the legal judgement by Mrs Justice Beverley Lang that TFL acted UNLAWFULLY in using emergency measures to introduce measures to introduce changes to road layouts. It was stated that TL'fs process was seriously flawed and did not sufficiently research or mitigate the potential adverse impacts of Street Space projects on people with disabilities and that LTNs as unlawful, irrational and not evidence based
* In June 2021, judicial reviews will challenge LTNs in Lambeth, Hounslow and Hackney.
Cllr Maria Alexandrou