While Brent Friends of the Earth very much welcomed the “Healthy Streets” programme by Brent Council, we are now very disappointed to see that the Council has decided to suspend the implementation of five of these Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes. This is in sharp contrast to the experience of many London boroughs which have successfully implemented LTNs.
We appreciate that there was a great deal of vociferous opposition to this initiative, but its implementation appears to have been somewhat half-hearted, and it has been abandoned before the communities affected really had a chance to experience the full benefits. It also appears that the online consultation process was not well designed, and there are questions about whether the results, with mostly very low engagement rates, were really representative of the community as a whole.
Monitoring appears to show that even these partially implemented trials did result in a reduction in traffic. In order to keep within targets for CO2 and air quality reduction, Brent Council really does need to take traffic reduction measures seriously, strongly encouraging walking, cycling and other means of active travel. We hope that the Council will come back with improved LTN proposals very soon.
We hope that future schemes will be better implemented and consulted on, ensuring that the voices of the many in Brent who do not own cars are heard as clearly as those who do. It is also imperative that such schemes should have a chance to run for a reasonable length of time, in order to demonstrate the proven benefits of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods for health, safety and the environment.
We are pleased to see that the School Streets programme has been successful and is being retained.