LOW TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOODS: A ‘failed experiment’
Attempts to reduce traffic in certain areas of Birmingham has been a ‘failed experiment’, the leader of the Conservative group has claimed.
And he is urging the council to ditch Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and consult with residents over the best next step, saying the policy has caused ‘misery’ for residents.
The scheme was introduced across Birmingham last year in areas including Kings Heath, Lozells and Bournville as part of the council’s emergency transport response to Covid-19.
The idea behind the areas is to reduce pollution and congestion by preventing cars going through the filters on certain roads, with some streets pedestrianised as a result.
The policy has been met with a mixed response from residents so far – some have supported the idea, while others have set up petitions calling for them to be removed and further consultation to take place.
And, while the council announced this week that they would be ‘working with residents and businesses to adapt and improve Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Moseley and Kings Heath’ through a series of ‘quick fixes’ Cllr Robert Alden (Cons, Erdington) believes the entire thing needs to be ditched and put back to residents.
“These low traffic neighbourhoods are a failed experiment rushed through without proper consultation with the people who properly understand these roads,” he said.
“It has caused misery for residents on surrounding roads that have been clogged up with polluting vehicles in stationary traffic and fear for businesses already pushed to the brink by the pandemic.
“‘Quick fixes’ are not what is required but a fundamental rethink that puts genuine improvements in place based on a deep understanding of the local area, not vanity gimmicks that promise cleaner air and safer travel but deliver the exact opposite.
“It is particularly concerning that the council continue to refuse to install pollution monitoring equipment in LTN’s despite videos of increased traffic and pollution being widely shared on social media.
“This cannot continue and the council need to start actually monitoring the impact of their policies rather than ignoring residents pleas.”
“It was never the Government’s intention that the much-needed flexibility they granted to allow councils to respond to an unprecedented situation would be misused in this way, particular at such a big cost to the public purse,” continued Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Ewan Mackey (Cons, Sutton Roughley).
“But regardless, those temporary powers have now expired and it is not at all clear how the council can be said to have carried out the genuine consultation required under the permanent regulations now back in place when you consider how they seem to have ignored all the concerns raised and ploughed ahead with making permanent changes that have caused chaos in our suburbs.”
Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter
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