Increasingly, the public is becoming aware of the flawed nature of the LTN project through informed media coverage via the local and national press, video outlets and more. We've selected some of the best recent reportage here (in reverse order - most recent at bottom of page).
Islington Free News Media
This extraordinary video records the scenes outside Bridgeman Road Library in Barnsbury when a large group of people found they were unable to gain access to a meeting organised by the Council for residents to "have their say" about plans for a "Liveable Barnsbury" (despite little advance notice, the Council had booked too small a venue - the meeting was eventually cancelled). The footage is important in two respects: (1) it includes several face-to-face interviews with a wide range of ordinary but highly articulate residents explaining why they vehemently oppose the Council's LTN programme (aka "Liveable Neighbourhoods); (2) it illustrates the widespread frustration and anger of the local community at the Council's failure to consult with them on this issue in a fair and effective manner.
Editorial on Barriers to Movement, 25.10.22
Excellent Times leader which concludes: "What is now needed is for councils to listen to the complaints and rethink hastily imposed schemes".
Article on DfT data
Article on how revised Department for Transport (DfT) data undermines the key rationale for implementing LTNs in the first place and shows how LTNs have made congestion worse on boundary roads, 25.10.22
Letter from Rachel Bolt, KHM, 20.5.22
A big majority of Islington residents don't like LTNs
Letter from Rachel Bolt, KHM, 25.11.22
Islington LTNs don't reduce pollution
Includes ITN News at 6.00 Report 17.3.22
Highbury LTN increased pollution by 26%
Oxford Council have approved shocking plans to lock residents into one of six zones using sophisticated CCTV filtering. Is this the logical conclusion of Islington's LTN programme?
There is no "traffic problem" in Barnsbury and no need for a "solution" - we're perfectly "liveable" as we are!
Letter to Islington Council
Here's a remarkably thoughtful and reasonable letter from a resident of Lonsdale Square in Barnsbury. I suspect the sentiments it articulates so well are typical of long-term Barnsbury residents who have no strong opposition to traffic management in principle, but who resent attempts by the Council to impose a politically motivated solution which threatens to be severely detrimental to their own way of life with no obvious benefits for the majority of their neighbours. We love living in Barnsbury and with regard to LTNs we wish the Council would just leave us alone!
Not surprisingly, the Council have so far failed to respond to the letter.
Shops on Myddleton Road in Haringey are leaving in droves as a result of the Council's misguided LTN
What looks like a very sensible petition has been launched to "Carry out an independent review into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods". If you believe it is high time there was a proper cost-benefit analysis of LTNs then please do sign by visiting https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/632748. At 10,000 signatures the Government must respond; at 100,000 there must be a debate in parliament.
Letters to Islington Tribune
Two LTN-sceptic letters from KIM stalwarts published in the Tribune on the same day! The first, from one Nick Collin (!) deplores the "greenwashing" which the Council is now deploying in an underhand attempt to push through the Barnsbury LTN. The second, from Christopher McCann of Lonsdale Square was originally sent to Councillor Champion and posted here above. Receiving no reply, Christopher sent it to the Tribune instead and here it is!
Islington Free News Media
Another Anti-LTN protest, another sensational video from IFN Media who were once again on hand to record proceedings. The circumstances this time were a series of "workshops" organised by the Council to let residents "have their say" about the proposed "Liveable Barnsbury" initiative, aka "imposing another unwanted LTN on another Islington ward", in this case Barnsbury. At each workshop session, residents were invited to put stickers on a map of Barnsbury-Laycock to indicate where they wanted improvements - cue for a small minority to call for their own streets to be blocked off or filtered at the expense of their neighbours. Not very democratic. Worse, most of those trying to register for the workshops found they were already booked up, we suspect by the cycling/Pro-LTN lobby who had been given advance notice. You can hear what residents think of this as well as their views on LTNs generally in this excellent video - well worth watching in its entirety. There is even a cameo appearance by your own website manager, right at the beginning!
Good article confirming what we've always suspected - the equipment used for measuring traffic volumes doesn't accurately record vehicles in congested conditions or travelling at less than 10 mph. In other words the denial by Islington Council that LTNs cause congestion on boundary roads was false, as we have always maintained based on the evidence of our own eyes. The same data was used by academic reports to present misleadingly low statistics on congestion.
Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail
Articles published 29.3.23 and 31.3.23 - "Pictured: 'Insane' new road layout that makes London borough 'look like Legoland' unhappy residents have claimed."
Stop Press: you can now see an excellent video by Michael Hudson of NTD on this Charlton Place "Wavy Road" fiasco: https://www.ntd.com/london-locals-strongly-against-low-traffic-neighbourhood-roadworks_910852.html Clearly, the Council's "consultation" process was a joke!
Stop Press 2: and the story has now reached ITV News: https://www.itv.com/news/london/2023-04-11/businesses-blast-wavy-kerb-cycle-route-in-historic-street-as-trade-drops
As part of the St Mary’s ward LTN, Islington Council has redesigned Charlton Place, off Essex Road and adjoining the popular Camden Passage area, famous throughout London for its antiques. Traffic will be banned from using the street between 8.15am and 9.15am and 3pm and 3.45pm using surveillance cameras. Lorries weighing over 3.5 tonnes will also be banned. The wavy kerb is designed to make cars slow down, restrict parking, and create a "safer cycle route".
Traders in Camden Passage say the scheme is already stopping shoppers visiting their historic shops and the lack of parking means loading and unloading is now very difficult. Others say the scheme is not worth it and is already losing them money. An overwhelming 98% of businesses objected to the development when petitioned.
One trader, who has been selling his wares in the area since the 1970s, said: “It’s a load of nonsense. There’s something wrong with the people who designed it. Here is supposed to be a conservation area but they’re turning it into something out of Legoland or Alton Towers or something. They’re complete and utter idiots using traffic as an old excuse.”
Another business owner said: “I’m definitely against it. I think it’s a complete and utter waste of money. There’s not a problem with traffic around here, there’s been no increase in traffic. And this is limiting people coming and shopping in the area."
And there are complaints about consultation.
“The council said it wouldn’t affect my businesses, all I’ve had is a leaflet dropped off saying they are doing the works but that was two or three weeks before. There’s been little pre-warning. They said they went door to door, but that’s a complete lie.”
“It’s insane, it seems to be a vanity project. They’re not hearing our voices.”
8.4.23 Mental Blocks - the Madness of Low Traffic Neighbourhood Measures - by Ysende Maxtone Graham. Note the "Three D's" of LTNs: Displacing traffic onto boundary roads; Dividing communities; Discriminating against the elderly and disabled. I'd add: Destroying the local economy by Driving out shops, small businesses and tradespeople.
Daily Mail Article
13.4.23 All over the UK, Councils are waging their "War on Cars" by reducing parking spaces with ugly bike hangars and so-called "parklets" and "rain gardens". In Islington, as part of a cynical "greenwashing" manouevre, this is being done in the name of "climate change" - see Islington Tribune article here. Bike Hangars have already been installed throughout the Borough, including in Barnsbury in advance of the LTN consultation process, much to the dismay of most residents apart from the small but absurdly influential cycling lobby. Attempts to engage with the Council have been met with the usual obfuscation and misinformation. Residents of Crossley Street have repeatedly asked the Council to justify its decision to install a bike hangar in a position which none of the immediate residents wanted. The Council have failed to provide even the most basic information such as how requests for hangars were evaluated or how the design and construction of the hangars is judged appropriate for this conservation area. Ironically, the main problem which residents face is the proliferation of hire bikes left on pavements, a problem which bike hangars does nothing to solve. On this too, the Council is silent.
Islington Council steps up the War on Cars
Hot on the heels of the revelation of the staggering amounts which Islington Council earns from LTN-related fines comes further evidence of the lucrative motivation behind its War on Cars. As the following two extracts illustrate, Islington Council not only leads the UK in terms of charging for parking but also earns more than any other borough from parking violations. It then has the nerve to propose that parking spaces should be reduced by replacing them with "parklets", "cycle hangars" and other anti-car measures as part of its "Liveable / Low Traffic Neighbourhoods" programme. And then pretends to justify this in the name of a "climate emergency". As such the Council appears to be simultaneously bigoted, discriminatory, profiteering, cynical and dishonest.
Could the tide be turning against LTNs?
21.5.23 Two really encouraging news items.
First, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has put a stop to government funding of LTNs, as reported in this Telegraph article, which is full of really sensible quotes:
Second, Dulwich Council have scrapped plans for an LTN following opposition from residents. If they can do it in Islington, we can do it here!
26.5.23 Another cracking letter from Paul Dale. "Barnsbury isn't broken and it doesn't need fixing" - exactly so!
Spectator and Times
Two more excellent anti-LTN articles, from Andrew Ellson in The Times and Lionel Schriver in The Spectator.
Andrew Ellson's title says it all: "Why low traffic neighbourhoods are a policy disaster". Lionel Schriver's article "Let's rise up in our road rage", is more wide-ranging and targets ULEZ, 20mph speed limits, and "15 minute cities" in addition to LTNs. But they're both agreed that, as Shriver puts it, "We've entered an era of unaccountable bureaucratic imposition that's only going to get worse, especially as fines for violating all these new rules are nice little earners for municipalities". The good news is she thinks the British public has finally had enough. Let's hope she's right.
Letter sent to Tribune - "Islington LTNs are bad for business".
Here's a draft letter sent to the Tribune in June, responding to a letter from John Hartley asking me for evidence that LTNs are bad for business. Sadly it wasn't published, although there were several other excellent letters making essentially the same point. I'm including it here because it includes some important links to material which makes it clear that the Council is well aware that small businesses are overwhelmingly opposed to LTNs but has chosen to ignore them.
Letter to Tribune 24.6.23
Islington LTNs are bad for business.
John Hartley (Reducing Traffic is a Laudable Goal, Letters, June 23) asks Nick Collin (Community Vanished, Letters, June 16) for evidence that Islington’s LTN programme is bad for business. That’s easy! Just refer to Islington Council’s own report “Feedback from businesses on the Highbury people-friendly streets programme” published during the 2022 consultation on the Highbury LTN and available on the Council’s website (See Ref 1 below). Or watch the video here:
The report acknowledges receipt of 287 formal objections to LTNs from local businesses in the form of a signed petition. The number of businesses in support appears to have been zero. To its credit, the Council describes the feedback in some detail. The following classes of objection were cited in 100% of responses: No Consultation or Due Notice; Loss of Custom; Poor Effect on Businesses; Less Passing Trade; Difficulties Receiving Deliveries; Difficulties Making Deliveries to People’s Homes; Long-term Impact on Business. But the Council appears to have ignored this feedback and the LTN went ahead.
To date, the Council has not consulted with businesses in Barnsbury to any meaningful extent. The flawed “Interactive Mapping” process is almost by definition unsuitable for capturing businesses’ objections, especially tradespeople. But based on our own research, business opposition to the Barnsbury.Laycock Liveable Neighbourhood is widespread.
The opposition of the business community to the Highbury LTN attracted a lot of media coverage at the time, including letters to The Tribune from La Fromagerie, Godfrey’s Butchers and C&H Pharmacy (See Refs 2,3,4, below) so John Hartley’s apparent unawareness of this issue is surprising, as is his claim that LTNs reduce traffic on boundary roads. His “evidence” in this case appears to be monitoring data cited by the Council which has now been thoroughly discredited. But anyone in doubt on this matter need only visit any of the main thoroughfares in Islington to observe the congestion caused by LTNs. Roads such as Holloway Rd, Balls Pond Rd, Blackstock Rd and Essex Rd are now routinely gridlocked, disrupting business activity throughout Islington and beyond.
Islington’s LTN programme is anti-car, anti-business and makes traffic much worse on main roads. It should be reversed in those wards such as Highbury where it was imposed under the cover of Covid, and should not under any circumstances be extended to Barnsbury.Laycock.
Nick Collin, www.keepislingtonmoving.com, Barnsbury N1
Gianna Cinalli, www.keephighburymoving.com, Highbury N5
David Corrigal, www.keepbarnsburymoving.com, Barnsbury N1