Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Council Report Ignores Benefits of LTNs

A pile of dozens of children's bicycles in one of Ealing's Low Traffic Neighbourhoods with a sign saying "What about the Children?"
A pile of children's bicycles - a protest against Ealing Council's plans to allow through traffic on residential roads which will make the streets two to four times more dangerous for children.

Ealing Cycling Campaign has written to the Chief Executive of Ealing Council objecting to omissions in its officers' report to cabinet which recommends the removal of seven LTNs. The report ignores the widespread evidence that shows the benefits of low-traffic neighbourhoods. The council failed to carry out counts of walking and cycling in the borough, which means it can't quantify the shift from car use to active travel. Its report fails to mention data in an independent study that indicate people in the outer London LTNs installed last year spent 58 minutes more per week walking and cycling compared to people outside the LTNs, and 44 minutes less driving. The cabinet is due to vote on the report's recommendations tonight (22 September 2021). If the cabinet votes to remove the LTNs it will cause more people to be injured on Ealing's roads, reduce the amount of walking and cycling in the borough, and increase the amount of car use. 

The text of our letter to the Chief Executive is below:

Re: Officers' report to cabinet: London Streetspace Plan (COVID Emergency Transport Measures) Update

Dear Mr. Najsarek,

We have serious concerns about this officers' report to the cabinet which recommends the removal of seven low-traffic neighbourhoods. The report contains serious omissions with the result that it fails to give an accurate picture of the benefits of the LTNs. It fails to make councillors aware of the new network management duty guidance, issued by the Secretary of State for Transport on 30 July 2021. It fails to make councillors aware that removing LTNs will result in a withdrawal of government funding for transport schemes in the borough. It makes recommendations which will negatively impact the council's three strategic priorities. And finally, it ignores the impact the removal of the LTNs will have on Ealing's Cycling Network. In short, it doesn't appear to have been based on evidence, but to have been written to justify a pre-determined decision. 

1. Omissions 


The council has not published any pedestrian and cycle counts for the 2020 low-traffic neighbourhoods. Given that the schemes were installed to increase the amount of walking and cycling, this is a serious omission. The report makes reference to the academic paper, The Impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Active Travel, Car Use, and Perceptions of Local Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic, but fails to mention that the paper reports 58 minutes of extra active travel per person, per week in the outer London 2020 LTNs. This is a considerable benefit. There is also evidence from earlier LTNs in London that shows they increase the amount of walking and also, to a lesser extent, cycling.1 In the absence of data from Ealing this should be presented as a guide to the cabinet. 

Ealing Cycling Campaign's own count, comparing cycle levels on Salisbury Road in LTN21 between September 2018 and September 2020 showed an 88% increase after the LTN was installed.  Since the LTN was removed we have seen a 22% drop in cycling. This is likely to fall further if the nearby LTNs are removed. 


Ealing hasn't published data on this. The report refers to the academic paper, The Impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Active Travel, Car Use, and Perceptions of Local Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic2, but fails to mention that it found that minutes of car travel per person, per week in the Emergency LTNs was 44 minutes less, compared to control groups living outside the LTNs. This is a significant reduction and deserves further investigation.


One of the recognised benefits of LTNs is better health. For instance, the hospital charity, Guy's and St. Thomas' Charitable Trust contributed £250,000 to fund three low-traffic neighbourhoods in Southwark. Most of the benefits are due to increased walking, with predicted longer life expectancy.3 This information is absent from the report.


The report quotes an academic study that shows London's low-traffic neighbourhoods reduced road traffic injuries by half.4 An earlier study of pre-2020 LTNs indicated that walking, cycling, and driving all became approximately 3-4 times safer per trip inside LTNs with no change on the boundary roads.5 LTNs offer significant improvement in safety to vulnerable road users, and the report should give this greater prominence. 


The report notes that crime is slightly down in LTN areas, but states that there has not been enough time to draw any conclusions about their longer-term impact. An academic study, not included in the officers' report, found long-term benefits of LTNs.6 It reported that the introduction of LTNs "was associated with a 10% decrease in total street crime, and this effect increased with a longer duration since implementation (18% decrease after 3 years). An even larger reduction was observed for violence and sexual offences. The only subcategory of crime that increased significantly was bicycle theft. There was no indication of displacement of any crime subcategory into adjacent areas." 

2. New statutory guidance

The legal section of the report fails to mention the new network management duty guidance, issued by the Secretary of State for Transport on 30 July 2021.7  This statutory guidance includes the following:

"we continue to expect local authorities to take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling. The focus should now be on devising further schemes and assessing COVID-19 schemes with a view to making them permanent. The assumption should be that they will be retained unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary."

There is no substantial evidence in the officers' report to indicate that the Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods should be removed. Instead, it explicitly states: "there are no schemes where the overall impact in terms of traffic/congestion and air quality are significant either positively or negatively." 

The new statutory guidance also contains the requirement that:

"Trial or experimental schemes should be left in place for the full duration of the temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) or experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO), where appropriate, or where no traffic regulation order (TRO) is required, until at least 12 months’ traffic data is available and has been published."

We have yet to see 12 months' traffic data published for all these schemes. LTN 30 (Loveday Road) was installed in November 2020, so time is still needed to collect traffic data for this area.

The new guidance is also specific in the type of data the council should use as evidence to make its decision:

"In assessing how and in what form to make schemes permanent, authorities should collect appropriate data to build a robust evidence base on which to make decisions. This should include traffic counts, pedestrian and cyclist counts, traffic speed, air quality data, public opinion surveys and consultation responses."

The council has failed to publish data in four of these seven categories. The following are missing: pedestrian and cyclist counts, traffic speed, and public opinion surveys. (Note the new guidance states that, "Engagement, especially on schemes where there is public controversy, should use objective methods, such as professional polling to British Polling Council standards, to establish a truly representative picture of local views and to ensure that minority views do not dominate the discourse.")

Finally the new guidance makes it clear that: "Consultations are not referendums, however. Polling results should be one part of the suite of robust, empirical evidence on which decisions are made." We note that the recommendations to remove or keep LTNs made in the officers' report coincide with the results of the council's Survey Monkey poll. This suggests that the poll, and not an objective assessment of the benefits and disadvantages of the LTNs is the true basis for the recommendations in this report.

3. Financial Consequences

The government has made it clear that it will withdraw future funding to boroughs that remove active travel schemes.8 This includes funding for schemes other than active travel, and funding the council receives from TfL. By removing LTN21, Ealing has already lost funding from the DfT. To help the cabinet make a decision, this report should include details of the amount of funding the council will lose, or could lose. For instance, the amount of funding received from the DfT and TfL over the last three years, and the proportion it makes up of total transport funding.

4. Links to the 3 Key Priorities for the Borough

The report fails to include the impact its recommendations will have on the borough's core objectives. Ealing has three key priorities: creating good jobs, tackling the climate crisis and fighting inequality. If the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are removed the DfT will cut funding to the borough. This will mean job losses. Removing the LTNs will reduce the amount people walk and cycle, and increase car use. This will increase the rate of global warming. Without the LTNs there will be between two and four times as many road traffic injuries on the former LTN roads. This will disproportionately affect those on lower incomes who are less likely to drive.

5. Effect on Ealing's Cycle Network

Some of the roads in the LTNs are part of Ealing's draft Cycle Network. Removing the LTNs will increase motor traffic on these routes to levels that break the guidelines in Local Transport Note 1/20: Cycle Infrastructure Design. Section 7.1.1 states: "Most people, especially with younger children, will not feel comfortable on-carriageways with more than 2,500 vehicles per day and speeds of more than 20 mph. These values should be regarded as desirable upper limits for inclusive cycling within the carriageway."  Section 7.1.4 says: "At flows of above 5000 vehicles per day few people will be prepared to cycle on-street" 

The following roads are part of Ealing's latest draft cycle network. The council's own traffic counts show they will have unacceptable levels of motor traffic for cycle routes if the relevant LTNs are removed:

Culmington Road (existing cycle route)

Before LTN = 496 vehicles per hour / 5952 vehicles over 12 hours

With LTN  = 61 vehicles per hour = 732 vehicles per 12 hours

Loveday Road (proposed cycle route)

Before LTN = 266 vehicles per hour / 3192 vehicles per 12 hours

With LTN = 7 vehicles per hour / 84 vehicles per 12 hours

Mattock Lane east (existing cycle route)

Before LTN  = 318 vehicles per hour = 3816 vehicles per 12 hours

With LTN = 157 vehicles per hour/ 1884 vehicles per 12 hours

Mattock Lane west (existing cycle route)

Before LTN = 327 vehicles per hour / 3924 vehicles per 12 hours

With LTN = 279 vehicles per hour / 3348 vehicles per 12 hours


The officers' report states: "the only clear benefits to be identified (namely the reduction in traffic with each LTN) is of a localised nature and it is therefore appropriate to give weight to the views of local residents when balancing the data and responses."   If the council finds only one clear benefit, it is because it has failed to collect the necessary data to identify other recognised benefits. It has also chosen to ignore or play down academic research and data from other boroughs that provides an extensive evidence base for the wider benefits of low traffic neighbourhoods. A full and properly researched report could only come to one conclusion - a recommendation to keep the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. 

Yours sincerely,

Ealing Cycling Campaign

1. Impacts of an active travel intervention with a cycling focus in a suburban context: One-year findings from an evaluation of London’s in-progress mini-Hollands programme.
2. The Impact of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Active Travel, Car Use, and Perceptions of Local Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
3. Waltham Forest study of life expectancy benefits of increased physical activity from walking and cycling
4. Impacts of 2020 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London on Road Traffic Injuries.
5. The Impact of Introducing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Road Traffic Injuries.

6. The Impact of Introducing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood on Street Crime, in Waltham Forest, London.

7. Statutory guidance Traffic Management Act 2004: network management to support recovery from COVID-19

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Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Government halts council plans to pull LTNs

Ealing Council announced on 16 August that it wants to remove seven of the COVID-19 trial low-traffic neighbourhoods and make only two permanent.

If the council has its way, the following LTNs will go: 

8 Olive Road

20 West Ealing North

25 Acton Central

30 Loveday Road

32 Junction Road

34 Bowes Road

35 Mattock Lane. 

The two that will stay are 48 Adrienne Avenue in Greenford, and the proposed Deans and Montague LTN in Hanwell. 

If the council goes ahead with its plan, it will mean that, of the 140 streets initially covered by the  low traffic neighbourhoods, only 8 will remain. However it is delaying its decision until a cabinet meeting in September so it can assess the implications of new government statutory guidance published on 30 July. 

The council's move is based on a Survey Monkey poll carried out last month. Between 1% to 6% of Ealing's population completed the survey. The exact numbers are unknown as the council didn't ask for names, and people could vote more than once. Of the responses from those who said they were residents of LTNs, 1186 (29%) were in favour and 2859 (71%) were against. 

If the council adheres to the government's new statutory guidance, the LTNs will remain for another year. The guidance says that active travel Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs), have to remain in place for their full duration. ETROs run for18 months, and the existing ones that created the current LTNs were issued in February this year. The new guidance is designed to prevent councils pulling active travel schemes before they have a chance to bed in, and to give councils time to collect meaningful data. Some sat nav apps take months to update new routes, and pollution needs to be measured over a full annual cycle. Councils are also expected to modify schemes, rather than pull them out completely, which might open up the possibility of enabling access for residents and visitors, but prohibiting rat-running through the LTNs. The new guidance also requires the council to publish full data on the schemes, including their effect on walking and cycling. Astonishingly, for a project that was designed to get more people to walk and cycle, the council has not published any data on this. Finally, if a council wants to remove a scheme, the new guidance requires it to conduct a consultation on its removal. This needs to include an objective survey of public opinion, such as one carried out by a professional polling company. 

The government has made it clear that schemes should not be removed unless there is substantial evidence they are not working. So far, all the data the council has produced shows that they are working. Apart from some concern about Horn Lane, and the Lido junction, transport planners appear happy with the levels of traffic on the boundary roads. The volume of traffic is slightly down on seven boundary roads and slightly up on six. 

On 16 August, for the first time, the council published "before and after" data on traffic inside the LTNs. This shows substantial drops of motor vehicles on cycle routes, such as Mattock Lane east and Culmington Road. Independent research shows LTNs are three to four times safer for pedestrians and cyclists than similar residential areas that don't have an LTN.

The council has also announced that the temporary COVID-19 cycle schemes on stretches of the Uxbridge Road - the ones marked with wands - will be made permanent, as will a stretch on the north-bound side of Greenford Road. The Acton to Chiswick cycle route will also be made permanent. The council has shelved plans for LTNs in the Creffield Road area and the proposed Hamilton Road LTN will now be a discussion with residents on "active travel measures".

The council hasn't made any announcement on the Greenford to Ealing Quietway, the Boston Road cycle route, the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood, or the proposed cycle route along the Uxbridge Road between Southall and Hanwell which, if it goes ahead, is due to be completed by late autumn. The government has promised to cut the transport funding of councils which remove active travel schemes, so if the council pulls the LTNs all these schemes, as well as wider transport funding, are at risk.


Ealing LTN survey results:

Ealing statement on active travel:

Government statutory guidance:

Reduction in road traffic injuries inside LTNs:

Government will reduce funding of councils that remove LTNs:

Read More »

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Government makes it hard for councils to remove LTNs

A lorry lifting a planter during the removal of LTN 21 in Ealing.

On 30 July the government issued new statutory guidance that will make it difficult for Ealing Council to remove the remaining 2020 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. The Prime Minister appears determined to keep the COVID-19 active travel schemes - even if some of them are unpopular. Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport said "Authorities which are proposing to remove or weaken schemes should not proceed with their plans unless they are satisfied that they have had regard to the guidance.”(1) 

The new guidance says: "we continue to expect local authorities to take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling. The focus should now be on devising further schemes and assessing COVID-19 schemes with a view to making them permanent. The assumption should be that they will be retained unless there is substantial evidence to the contrary."(2)

The new guidance doesn't say what substantial evidence would be required to remove a scheme, but it might include the scheme increasing road traffic injuries, causing severe congestion, or producing more pollution. Research by Westminster University shows that the 2020 LTNs in London halved the number of road traffic injuries within the schemes compared to the rest of London and did not increase the number of injuries on the boundary roads(3). In Ealing the council's reports on traffic levels showed an increase in traffic on Churchfield Road in Acton and on Popes Lane in South Ealing, but the reports repeatedly say that congestion has not generally been a cause of concern.(4) The council has only published an interim report on pollution, covering a four month period. It shows that pollution on all roads was down, presumably due to lockdown during the period. The council says that "a final report will be produced using 12-month monitoring data and published in due course." (5) In short, there is nothing here that looks like the substantial evidence needed to remove an LTN.

The council hasn't yet published all the traffic data on the schemes, so we are still waiting for the full evidence of their effect. The government insists that  "Schemes must not be removed prematurely or without proper evidence. And any decisions on whether to remove or modify them must be publicly consulted on with the same rigour as we require for decisions to install them." (2) It also says "Engagement, especially on schemes where there is public controversy, should use objective methods, such as professional polling to British Polling Council standards, to establish a truly representative picture of local views and to ensure that minority views do not dominate the discourse."(2)

If, despite all this, a council does decide to remove an active travel scheme, then the government is threatening to cut its general transport funding. In Gear Change - One Year On, published on Friday, it says  "an authority’s performance on active travel will help determine the wider funding allocations it receives, not just on active travel.”(6) This may mean that money for resurfacing roads, filling potholes and other capital projects could be pulled.


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Monday, 2 August 2021

Ealing's Transport Funding Stopped

Ealing Council has had part of its transport funding stopped because of its lack of commitment to active travel. On Friday 30 July, Andrew Gilligan, a special advisor to the prime minister, and an observer member on the board of Transport for London tweeted: "The London councils where funding has been stopped, pending further discussion, are Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, K&C, Redbridge, Sutton, and Wandsworth."  

The exact reason for pulling the funding isn't clear. We asked Ealing Council and TfL for an explanation. Ealing Council said: “We have trialled nine LTNs over the last year and have removed one scheme, after 9 months, and that was because the part closure of a boundary road by a neighbouring borough made the scheme unworkable. We have redesigned part of it and hope it will be supported by local people. Any decisions about further schemes will be made following trial periods of almost 12 months. These have now been concluded, allowing us to take into account a wide range of data and feedback, including how the schemes have affected traffic patterns and levels of local support."

TfL said “We are focusing available funding on ensuring that boroughs can continue temporary projects and those already under construction. As a result, more funding has so far been allocated to those boroughs who are progressing this type of project. We have written to other boroughs where we need further discussions around specifics of their funding.” 

The loss of funding isn't a surprise. When the government announced its plans for low-traffic neighbourhoods back in 2020, it warned councils that it could "ask for funds to be returned for any which have not been completed as promised".1 Last week, the government reiterated that threat, saying: "We will reduce funding to councils which do not take active travel seriously, particularly in urban areas. This includes councils which remove schemes prematurely or without proper evidence."2  

Ealing's methods of consulting the public are also being questioned.  The government insists that "any proposal to remove a contested scheme should involve a process that genuinely reflects local opinion – typically professional, representative polling." Professional opinion polls have repeatedly found that LTNs are popular with the general public, but Ealing's two consultations used a different approach. The first, using an online site called Commonplace, enabled people to submit as many comments as they liked. The second, using another online site, Survey Monkey, could be easily manipulated as it didn't ask for names, just addresses. Legally, there is no requirement for the council to treat a consultation like a referendum; safety and other factors must also be considered. Earlier this year, Hounslow council closed Swyncombe Avenue to east-bound motor traffic after 97 responses in favour and 435 against.

Swyncombe Avenue

Ealing Council's statement continued: “We are committed to being open, transparent and inclusive as a council. That means being honest about what works and what does not. This is why we are giving local people control over change in their neighbourhoods through a consultation on the future of LTNs in the borough.
“We know that people in Ealing want a cleaner, greener borough with less congestion – and our neighbourhoods are not designed to cope with the high levels of traffic we see on local streets. We are supporting our residents to choose active travel options, like walking or cycling, instead of making short journeys by car.” 
It's not known what Ealing Council needs to do to restart the flow of money. TfL says that discussions are ongoing. 



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Saturday, 31 July 2021

Why we need Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Conditions for cyclists on Ealing's residential streets have deteriorated significantly over the last 20 years. During this time motor vehicles have become wider, reducing the space for cycling.

On a standard 24 ft-wide Victorian carriageway, the space between parked cars and and an oncoming vehicle has been cut by nearly half. Most people are, not surprisingly, intimidated by the challenge of trying to squeeze through this narrow gap. Some choose to cycle on the pavement, others don't attempt to cycle at all.

In the last ten years the introduction of GPS navigation systems has contributed to a 70% increase in the amount of through traffic on C and unclassified roads in London. At the same time, the amount of motor traffic on A and B roads has fallen.

This extra GPS-guided traffic on residential roads isn't spread evenly through the day, but occurs mainly at times of most congestion on the main roads - which coincides with the time children travel to and from school. Roads that were once quiet are now busy, creating multiple problems for cyclists. Some drivers cutting through residential streets will drive towards oncoming cyclists without slowing down, expecting the cyclist to move into the 'door zone' (the area where an opening car door can knock you off your cycle). Most drivers travelling in the same direction as a cyclist will accelerate until they are close behind the cyclist, then follow the cyclist closely along the road, which many riders find intimidating. A third problem with the increased traffic is that motor vehicles are often unable to pass each other, and so block the road while they wait for the oncoming vehicle to pass. 

Early attempts at traffic calming created other difficulties for cyclists. The introduction of non-sinusoidal speed humps puts an obstacle in the road that induces shocks and vibrations in cyclists at much lower speeds than that experienced by drivers of vehicles fitted with suspension.Many of these non-compliant speed humps still exist on residential roads. They continue to create discomfort and make routes unusable for some disabled riders. The introduction of one-way streets forced cyclists to take longer routes, and increased motor vehicle speeds. In short, the experience of cycling on many of Ealing's residential roads is a lot worse than it was 20 years ago.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods are probably the most effective way to redress the balance and reduce the negative impact of these recently-introduced obstacles to cycling. Research shows that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods reduce road-traffic injuries, making the streets inside an LTN three to four times safer for cyclists and pedestrians, than comparable roads outside the area. The introduction of an LTN also doesn't increase road-traffic injuries on the boundary roads.4





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Thursday, 8 July 2021

Save our Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods

The council is carrying out a consultation on the following Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods. If they are removed, it will make cycling and walking in these areas 3 to 4 times more dangerous.

 If you live in, work in, or travel through any of these LTNs, please make sure your voice is heard. 

It is important to have your say, even if you have already responded to the statutory ETOs, provided feedback by email or via the council’s Commonplace website.
You can however formally respond to any of the LTN scheme's consultations by emailing or by posting your response to: Highway’s service, Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, W5 2HL, quoting reference ORD XXXXX.
Please quote the following reference for each LTN:
    • LTN 8: Olive Road - ORD 4252A
    • LTN 20: West Ealing North - ORD 4261A
    • LTN 25: Acton Central - ORD 4259A
    • LTN 30: Loveday Road - ORD 4257A
    • LTN 32: Junction Road - ORD 4254A
    • LTN 34: Glendun Road (Bowes Road) - ORD 4255A
    • LTN 35: Mattock Lane - ORD 4256B
    • LTN 48: Adrienne Avenue - ORD 4253A
If you need any help in taking part in the consultations, e.g., if you need a paper copy, please write to us at highway services, Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, W5 2HL. 

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Family Cycle Hub in Southall


In April, Sustrans opened a pop-up Family Cycle Hub on the Havelock Estate. The hub is open every Thursday and Friday from 10am to 5pm. It's aimed at families living in the area, in particular parents who want to start cycling. It offers free cycle training on Thursdays and cycle repairs on Fridays. It runs family cycle rides, and offers the chance to try out equipment such as child trailers. It is funded by Sport England in cooperation with Catalyst.  The hub is at 33 Hunt Road, Southall, UB2 4QB. Email:

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