Controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Greenwich to be scrapped – South London News

By Kiro Evans, Local Democracy Reporter

Greenwich is set to scrap a controversial low-traffic zone after locals fumed about road blocks halting progress across the city.

The divisive scheme controlled traffic flow and used barriers and on-street cameras to fine motorists who did not obey the rules.

Supporters lauded the low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) areas when they were introduced in August 2020 on a trial basis, saying it created safer roads and reduced congestion.

But opponents said it just moved traffic around the borough and did not work in the interests of all residents.

They have been used by some councils to improve road safety and air quality, but proved to be controversial across many London areas.

Council officers have recommended the west Greenwich LTN trial ends on Friday, February 25, as planned, but added it should be left open for cabinet members to develop alternative LTN traffic schemes.

Councillor Sarah Merrill, cabinet member for transport, is expected to sign off proposals.

The change means residential roads previously blocked off from motorists should be free to traffic again.

Reaction from local people varied.

The Green Party’s Matt Browne, who lost a 2021 council by-election in west Greenwich, said: “Low traffic neighbourhoods are essential if Greenwich council is to meet its own 2030 traffic reduction targets – the removal of the Hills and  Vales LTN and the failure to consider new LTNs betrays both residents and the council’s promises.

“We urgently need a Greenwich-wide traffic reduction and safety strategy, drawn up through consultation with residents, linking LTNs in a coordinated way to reduce traffic, rather than just moving it.

“Worsening pollution, the resulting dangers to residents’ health and the climate emergency all won’t wait for Greenwich Labour – we need meaningful action now.’’

Local group One Greenwich, which has campaigned against LTNs, said: “We are delighted Royal Greenwich has reversed its barmy decision to install LTNs permanently across west Greenwich.

“Not only did this impact residents living on the boundary roads, but also across east Greenwich, resulting in additional pollution and congestion in other residential areas, many containing an abundance of social housing.

“Despite supporters’ best efforts in attempting to game the consultation, from completing it on behalf of three-month-old babies, to forcing leaflets in support of LTNs onto visitors from outside the area, it’s true to say it wasn’t going to end well for them.

“Hopefully, we can look to finding a solution equitable for all, not just the privileged few.”

On Twitter, one local said: “Great news. It’s been awful for so many and good for just a few. It’s brave to say it has’t worked. There will be other ways to tackle the problems but they have to benefit the community as a whole.”

A statement from council leader Danny Thorpe and Cllr Merrill said: “An LTN has been on trial in west Greenwich since August 2020.

“We have been closely monitoring the scheme and listening to residents’ feedback throughout.

“Changes were made to the scheme last summer, following feedback from local people about traffic being displaced to the east side of Greenwich Park and A2.

“A report on the trial has been published which considers traffic data and feedback received up until December 21, 2021. The report can be accessed here.”

Pictured top: Road blockades – known as modal filters – have been set up in places across West Greenwich to keep traffic off residential roads (image: Kiro Evans)

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