A North London dad has to lock kids inside after new traffic measures installed by the council cause four-hour jams outside his house.
Ediz Mevlit, an Enfield resident, has said his children have been hospitalised from ‘choking’ on the fumes and described the new normal as “disgraceful carnage”.
His road in Palmers Green is being used as a cut between the A105 and a parallel road since Enfield Council introduced Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) nearby.
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During peak hours, the dad either keeps Melissa, 12, and Dilan, eight, inside and shuts the windows and doors or drives them two to three miles for a walk in an area with cleaner air – but he insists the damage is already being done.
In the past four months, he’s taken his ‘wheezing and choking’ children to the hospital with breathing difficulties and he believes they’ll soon be diagnosed with asthma as a result of the traffic flow increase.
LTNs were introduced in London last summer to redirect traffic away from residential areas by closing off roads to motor vehicles, installing cycle lanes, and widening pavements.
In videos shared to social media throughout this month, Ediz documents the congestion on his road, which has a school on it, while explaining ‘we are choking’.
Ediz insisted he’s ‘not willing to let his children become collateral for a failed experiment’, but Enfield Council said the measures were only a trial and were ‘specifically designed to encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport’.
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The news comes three weeks after it was revealed Ealing Council is set to scrap seven of their LTNs after they made ‘no material difference’ to air quality but did increase traffic congestion.
Ediz, from Palmers Green, Enfield, said: “I just want to protect my family. We shut all our windows and doors, so we effectively lock ourselves in. It’s horrific.
“They’ve decided to provide the most affluent people with a low traffic neighbourhood and that’s forced vehicles to be displaced in roads like mine.
“Sometimes the pollution gets so bad I have to take my children into a low traffic neighbourhood for a walk in the clean air – anywhere apart from being at home.
“They’ve been to the hospital with breathing difficulties and the doctors have tests planned. They’ll probably be diagnosed with asthma very soon.
“They’ve been suffering from breathlessness and wheezing for about four months now. They cough and choke and the damage is already being done.
“We can’t go for walks and going to the shop is a hazard. There are motorbikes and quad bikes travelling down pavements. It’s absolutely dangerous and we’ve just been ignored.
“We’ve got white cupboards in our house and you can see the pollution on them because they get dirty very easily. I can feel it in my lungs. You just breathe heavier.
“Jenny is really concerned too. She worries about me because I’m at the age where my health can affect me with heart attacks or lung cancer.
“It’s mentally affecting me now because every day you’re thinking if your kids are going to be able to breathe well after school. We took the clean air for granted before.
“I’m just a desperate parent. I’m not willing to let my children be used as collateral for an experiment which has failed.”
Ediz says the traffic begins as early as 3.30pm and continues until around 6pm, with the weekends being quieter but Sundays now becoming busy too.
“You see kids almost being run over and I’m scared to let my kids out to play on their own street. It’s created carnage.
He says he can smell the fumes from the traffic wafting into his semi-detached home and is angered by his opinion that more affluent areas are benefiting while his street is being used as ‘collateral’.
Ediz said: “There are no pollution monitors here, so I can feel it but I can’t prove it. It’s obvious. They’re recording the pollution on the closed roads but they’re forgetting us on the outside of it.
“We need them to reverse this decision and treat everyone the same. They’ve gated one bit of the community while using the rest as collateral. We all deserve clean air. You shouldn’t punish someone to provide for another.
“If the main roads aren’t moving, people find other ways like driving down my street. so we need to improve the main roads in this country instead of creating low traffic neighbourhoods. It hasn’t worked.
“Affluent people have gained from this. They have a quiet road and their house value is going up.”
Ediz’s determination to end the congestion has inspired him to run as a ward councillor in the local election in May and become a vocal campaigner on Twitter.
His video posted during rush hour on Monday, October 11, has been viewed more than 700 times.
Ediz’s post said: “Two hours solid. My children are as far away from this as possible with doors and windows shut. To live like this so others get quiet streets is disgraceful.”
Enfield Council said they are currently collating traffic data, cycle and pedestrian volumes, impact on emergency services, community feedback, equality considerations, air quality, noise, Healthy Streets indicators and road collisions.
A future decision report planned for publication later this year/early next year will summarise this information and will inform a decision on the future of the trial to be made by the Cabinet Member.
An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were funded by and follow the guidance laid out by the current government and are designed to create more space for people to participate in active travel such as walking, cycling and scooting.
“They are specifically designed to encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport. With fewer people driving and more travelling actively, air quality will improve, carbon emissions are reduced, reducing the borough’s contribution to climate change in line with our aim for Enfield to be carbon neutral by 2040.
“However we have been clear from the start of this process that the introduction of LTNs was on a trial basis and we would review their performance, their impact on traffic flow and residents’ comments, before deciding whether or not to make individual schemes permanent.
“The formal consultation process for the scheme in question ran from 28 September to 2 May 2021. The Council is currently in the process of collating and assessing all the data and feedback collected during the monitoring period, ahead of a decision being made on the future of the LTNs later this year or early next year.”
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