Lib Dems must learn from Ealing Council’s LTN blunder

The Liberal Democrat administration must learn from the mistakes of others if they are to bring Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods to B&NES, opposition councillors say.

It follows Ealing Council’s decision last month to remove seven of the Low-Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes it had previously put in place.

LTNs are designed to block access to residential streets in order to improve air quality and reduce congestion. 

The Lib Dems who run Bath and North East Somerset Council are planning to rollout Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods across the district over the course of the next couple of years, and the Conservative opposition on the council is urging them to learn from Ealing’s mistakes and think again.

The LTNs in Ealing were erected during the lockdown last year. But recent a consultation found the majority of people living in them were against the schemes.

In Ealing, the LTNs were found to have increased levels of congestion on nearby streets, made no improvement to air quality and soured community relations.

A report considered by Ealing Council’s Cabinet reads: “There is evidence that (as would be expected) traffic flows have reduced within each of the LTN areas themselves. 

“Apart from that, broadly speaking, the overall benefits for some residents are somewhat offset by disbenefits to others.

“In addition, there are no schemes where the overall impact in terms of traffic/congestion and air quality are significant either positively or negatively.”

Cllr Vic Pritchard, Leader of the Conservative Group on B&NES Council, said: “Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods are nice in theory but don’t always work in practice. As we now know from what has happened in Ealing, they can create more problems than they solve.

“By pushing traffic onto other roads and damaging relations between communities, LTNs will serve only to create ‘poor air zones’ and ‘rich air zones’.

“We are therefore urging the Lib Dem ‘listening’ council to put its money where its mouth is and actually listen to residents in Ealing who objected so forcefully to LTNs.

“And with a budget of £2.2m already earmarked for LTNs in B&NES, we must ask ourselves – is this money well spent?”