Sunday 23 May 2021

Council Suspends Low Traffic Neighbourhood

On Friday 21 May, Ealing Council broke its pre-election pledge to reduce traffic in West Ealing. Giving only two-hours notice, it ripped out the low-traffic neighbourhood south of the Uxbridge Road known as LTN 21. The announcement was made at 12 noon, and by the end of the day workmen had removed all the planters and "no motor" vehicle signs in the area. Children who had cycled to school on quiet streets had to return home on roads carrying through-traffic. The decision was made by the new leader of the council Peter Mason who, the previous week, was elected to replace Julian Bell as leader of the Labour group. Officers tasked with removing the LTN were only told the day before, and it is not clear if a safety audit was carried out. Road markings, including 'Give Way' lines, removed in August 2020 were not immediately replaced. 

Workers remove road markings in August 2020 

Road markings were not immediately replaced in May 2021

At a stroke, Cllr Mason has undone the months of hard work of local residents who, in an attempt to protect children walking and cycling to school, replaced bollards and cleaned up the damage caused by LTN-opponents. 

The council says LTN21 is being removed because Hounslow council is carrying out roadworks that will introduce one-way working for motor vehicles on Swyncombe Avenue, one of the boundary roads to the south of LTN21. This would extend the boundary down to the A4 which would "make LTN 21 unworkable". 

The LTN has been controversial since the Labour Council installed it in August last year - one of many in the country introduced at the instigation of the Conservative government. The council says it will "look to consult on smaller sections of LTN 21 that local people have told us are successful." Cllr Mason says that “remaining LTNs will be subject to a CPZ style consultation, with a vote for local people on whether they think the LTNs will work in their neighbourhoods."

In 2018, Labour were elected on a manifesto promise to remove through traffic from three unspecified neighbourhoods in Ealing. Before the 2018 election, the party leaders Greg Stafford (Conservative), Gary Malcolm (Lib Dem), Julian Bell (Labour) and the Greens all signed a pledge to deliver the West Ealing Liveable Neighbourhood and reduce through traffic on residential roads in West Ealing. Ealing Cycling Campaign will be asking them to work together to fulfil this promise.