Editor : David Kernek (kernekdavid@gmail.com)

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Alerts in Bath, and fines and Blue Badge exemptions in London

JOE SCOFIELD of the Bath City Centre Access Group has been busy in the Snowhill and London Road areas, warning of the risks posed by Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in neighbouring districts. 

‘It isn’t about bashing the Liberal Democrat council,’ he writes. ‘It’s just that this particular situation is too awful to ignore.

‘The council has established a timeline for the delivery of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). There are stages in which residents’ associations bid for their location to become an LTN, then work with the council on specific designs, followed by trialling and a wider public consultation period. It seems to me that the timeline serves to empower residents’ associations hoping to displace their traffic onto other people’s streets.

‘By the time that the wider public consultation is reached, a powerful residents’ association will have rallied a lot of support for their proposed LTN – forging a network of individuals immersed in the subject, knowing the arguments and the soundbites, being more familiar with the system having worked with the council on the design of the LTN, and having held their councillors’ ear on the subject for some time.

‘In contrast, a community such as Snowhill, which would be on the receiving end of the displaced traffic, may face an uphill climb if residents decide to resist the scheme.

‘There would be the challenge of trying to mobilize people around the estate to speak up within the timeframe of the consultation period. This would involve residents becoming aware of the issue: not just to vaguely know about it, but to also grasp its implications for them. People who do tiring manual work would have to find the time and energy to research the subject. Those who rely on their ’phones to browse the internet might find it harder to engage with online resources and surveys, and council spin around the subject has to be unpicked.

‘So I’ve been in favour of pre-empting the council’s timeline a bit by flyering the potentially-affected streets.

‘This at least gives residents a head start by letting them know in good time about the possible consequences of LTNs for their community. If councillors behave in an unethical manner by seemingly supporting unacceptable levels of traffic displacement, or by working with a residents’ association without updating the nearby communities, then that can be exposed early on, too.’

IN London meanwhile, fines from cameras in LTNs run by Southwark Council have generated £2.5 million after the scheme’s launch, according to data revealed in answer to a Freedom of Information request lodged by the RAC.

Fixed penalty charges have been issued to road users by three LTN cameras installed in Dulwich and one in Walworth. In Dulwich Village, drivers  received 22,424 fines between January 11 and February 28. This will have amounted to more than £1.5 million in revenue with each driver having to hand over £65. In Walworth, 29,530 infractions have been captured using just one camera, generating more than £1 million in fines.

The local authority has had to make changes to its LTN schemes after a trial period, including to assist of Blue Badge holders. Those with a badge – which allow motorists to park closer to their destination if they or someone they care for is disabled – in Dulwich Village or Walworth Low Traffic Scheme areas will now be eligible for exemption.

Southwark Council said: ‘In the course of listening to people who live in the Dulwich Village and Walworth LTN trial areas, we have learned that Blue Badge holders might be disproportionately impacted by the schemes. Blue Badge holders often have reduced mobility, which can make walking and cycling much more difficult. In the interest of equality and in response to our residents, we are therefore inviting Blue Badge holders to register for an exemption.’

1 comment for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Alerts in Bath, and fines and Blue Badge exemptions in London

  1. Joe Scofield says:

    In response to this article, it’s been suggested that the Snow Hill community would be given its own LTN first.

    I feel that residents need to be quite careful about what may be a case of carrot AND stick here. In other words, the Snow Hill community gets dangled a carrot: restrictions on cars cutting through their estate; but in return for that, they’re encouraged to accept the stick: a volume of dirty air displaced by LTNs at Camden and Lansdown onto the London Road where Snow Hill residents live, walk, shop, and wait for buses, etc.

    An LTN can’t be applied to the London Road itself – a busy main road that facilitates perhaps 20,000 vehicle movements a day. The council can close only surrounding side roads and secondary arterial roads to through traffic, thus pushing traffic-related pollution onto the already illegally polluted London Road. The net effect for Snow Hill residents and all other residents of the London Road would be detrimental.

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