London borough to BAN most vehicles from 75 percent of its roads in green agenda push

The borough already has the highest number of schemes in London

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Controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures are set to result in a London borough banning most vehicles from 75 percent of its roads.

Hackney Council have sanctioned plans to put three quarters of its street into LTNs in “the country’s most ambitious plan” to tackle toxic air.

The borough already has the highest number of schemes in London, with around half of its road covered by traffic management measures.

Hackney’s Three Year Local Implementation Plan will see the area have the largest number of car restrictions in the capital, according to Mayor Philip Glanville.

He said: “This is the most ambitious plan in London, if not the most ambitious in the country, building on an incredible track record in this borough.”

Between now and 2025/26, Dalston, Hoxton, Chatsworth Road, Craven Walk, Cazenove Road and Stamford Hill will have LTNs installed under the new proposals.

The Government’s Levelling Up Fund will be used as further impetus in the green drive, with some £19million being used to redesign Pembury Circus and make five areas in Hackney Central more environmentally sufficient.

Schemes are already in place in London Fields, Hackney Downs and Stoke Newington, where the only vehicles allowed through are bikes, emergency vehicles and bin lorries.

Schemes are already in place in other parts of London
Schemes are already in place in other parts of London

Physical filters such as bollards and planters are used by LTNs in order to prevent vehicles from using some smaller residential streets.

Disabled drivers with blue badges from outside the LTN areas will also be allowed to pass through some of the car filters.

The scheme has been widely criticised, with some saying the traffic is moved into neighbouring areas.

Hackney Together said: “There is no justification for safer, quieter roads for some at others’ expense.”

A study by Westminster University’s Active Travel Academy and climate charity Possible, however, claims the measures in London “substantially” reduced motor traffic in residential area, with little impact on nearby main roads.

Labour councillor Mete Coban, Hackney’s environment and transport lead, told the Evening Standard the that input from local residents and businesses will be taken into account.

He said: “We also want to go back to those areas where we have made schemes permanent to make further improvements.

“That’s looking at the Hackney Downs LTN, London Fields LTN, some of those concerns residents have been raising for us.”

He added: “We promise to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and creating a greener, healthier Hackney as a result.”

It comes after Health Secretary Steve Barclay appeared to criticise the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s planned ultra-low emissions zone expansion for imposing an “additional cost” on NHS staff and others.

But a spokesperson for Mr Khan said it was “surprising for a Health Secretary to ignore the advice of their own chief medical officer” on the dangers of air pollution.

London’s ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) is due to be expanded to cover the whole of the capital from August 29 to boost air quality, with a £12.50 daily fee for vehicles not meeting minimum standards.

Speaking in the House of Commons during a session of questions to transport ministers on Tuesday, Conservative MP Louie French warned of the effect the charge would have on London’s emergency workers.

The MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup said: “One of the biggest issues my local hospital has raised with me in outer London is the impact of Sadiq Khan’s Ulez expansion, with nurses and other staff facing charges of £12.50 per shift, or £25 if working nights.

Sadiq Khan is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to extend the Ulez zone
Sadiq Khan is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to extend the Ulez zone

“Given 50 percent of London’s emergency workers live outside the capital, does the minister agree that the mayor and the Labour Party should stop ignoring Londoners and drop their Ulez tax rate?”

Mr Barclay responded: “My honourable friend raises an extremely important point in terms of the additional cost that the London mayor is imposing, not just on NHS staff but all staff working in the capital, and how that contrasts with the approach the Chancellor has taken in terms of energy support and how that helps staff across the workforce, including in the NHS, in terms of cost of living.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, said: “It is surprising for a Health Secretary to ignore the advice of their own chief medical officer.

“Chris Whitty has been clear that air pollution is everyone’s problem. Not only is toxic air causing 4,000 premature deaths in the capital, it’s also expected to cost the NHS and social care system in London around £10.4 billion by 2050.”

They added: “Most vehicles, more than four in five, seen in the zone will not need to pay the Ulez charge.

“It’s only the most polluting vehicles doing the most damage to our health that are affected.

“The mayor has also announced the biggest scrappage scheme yet, £110 million, to help the Londoners who need it most.”