More low-traffic neighbourhoods likely in next five years

Existing low-traffic neighbourhoods already cover roughly half of the borough

By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

‘Mini-Holland’ restrictions in Francis Road, Leyton (credit: Waltham Forest Council)

More low-traffic neighbourhoods are likely to pop up in Waltham Forest, despite existing restrictions already covering roughly half of the borough.

Last week, council leaders approved a new plan to improve the borough’s air quality over the next five years.

One proposed step was increasing the number of low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), which stop drivers except emergency services and those who live or work there entering certain roads.

A council consultation on the new plan received 313 responses, of which around six in ten supported more LTNs, cycling and electric vehicle infrastructure.

However, the report also noted common concerns that main roads close to existing LTNs are seeing increased traffic, “leading to longer journeys, higher pollution on main roads, and disproportionate impact on people who are more reliant on their cars”.

A map of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, with those introduced post-2020 in purple (credit: Google Maps)

In response, the council argued the impact LTNs have on traffic levels “varies on a scheme-by-scheme basis”, with an overall reduction in traffic “in most schemes” as well as a “continued downward trend” in polluted air.

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It also admitted there are “still some challenges” with traffic on main roads near LTNs but promised to continue working to “identify further solutions”.

The report added: “We also understand that people still need to drive for certain journeys, especially people who are more reliant on their cars.

“Throughout the schemes, we also meet with and keep the emergency services up to date on our plans, to ensure there are no issues with how they can access the area, should they need to.”

Despite introducing several LTNs across the borough over the last nine years, the council claims that the impacts of future schemes on protected groups such as disabled people “cannot be fully assessed at this stage”.

Other “cleaner transport” measures in the action plan include installing more bicycle lanes and electric vehicle charging points.

The council also hopes to reduce emissions from construction and ramp up enforcement of a “smoke control” law, which allows them to issue fines of up to £1,000 on anyone using their chimney.

According to Transport for London, most areas of the borough meets the UK’s air quality targets but major roads are still a “significant source of pollution”.

A TfL map, based on data from 2019, shows dangerous emissions are highest in areas close to the A12 and A406, while the cleanest air is found in the north of the borough.

Since 2014, the council has had three automatic air quality monitoring stations at Dawlish Road and Ruckholt Close in Leyton and at the Crooked Billet roundabout on the A406.

Readings from these sites show that, since the stations were installed, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) readings have fallen by almost half at Crooked Billet but less significantly at Ruckholt Close and Dawlish Road.

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