To review the Cabinet decision taken on 18 June as a result of the matter having been Called-in.
Cllr Maria Alexandrou was welcomed as the Call-In lead and highlighted the following:
· The many reasons for the Call In are detailed in the agenda papers.
· Failure to consult residents, the perception survey which did not mention road closures had 263 responses and there was a petition of 377 people that was delivered in Parliament that wanted LTN’s. This contrasts to the 1600 signatures that opposed the Bowes LTN, plus the demonstrations and other petitions.
· There was no prior debate or consultation that took place and this forced design was delivered to the detriment imposed upon residents’ lives.
· The online consultation discriminated against certain groups. There had been a lack of community engagement on the scheme.
· Nitrogen dioxide levels had increased by 20 per cent at Bowes Primary School in the 8 months since the implementation of the LTN.
· Noted that the camera enforcement vehicles have now been switched to electric the cleaner air retentions have been usurped by the traffic fumes. No baseline measure on air quality were taken before the installation of the LTN so how can any meaningful comparisons be made. Traffic data will be put into a model to analyse the impact on air quality
· Failure to address concerns over the impact on people with disabilities, their rights had not been considered and engagement with blue badge holders had been a “tick-box exercise”. A survey revealed more than three quarters of those with a disability thought the trial had had a negative impact on them. Multiple road closures act as a physical and psychological barrier between them and their families and carers.
· LTNs had forced traffic into other roads such as the A406. LTN’s are designed to push traffic onto the main roads what about the residents that live on the main roads.
· The proposal is to allow the LTN to continue to allow more representative data of normal conditions. However, NO2 has increased despite Covid restrictions.
· In conclusion the drive to make the streets safer has created the opposite effect. The future of LTN’s are a political decision pointing that the outcome is a political commitment. The main beneficiaries of the LTN’s are all the residents of the borough in particular are children and young people. Yet the congestion is where children walk to school. LTN’s have increased traffic and there is no obvious uptake in walking or cycling. LTN’s have forced traffic into other roads and divided the community in order to create a few quiet roads in the entire borough.
The Chair thanked Cllr Alexandrou and asked the Deputy Leader Cllr Ian Barnes and officers to respond.
· The Deputy Leader asked cabinet for the trial to be extended to allow more data to be collected about typical traffic patterns.
· The traffic cams pollution data responses from TfL on buses on the North Circular in the interim report are all welcomed. This shows no issues on buses or on the North Circular. But this is heavily caveated due to the abnormal traffic patterns due to the pandemic
· Regarding the concern raised on failure to consult residents, the trial had been accompanied by a six-month consultation period, all of this data is in the interim report. The council had followed government guidelines on the scheme’s rollout. This timetable came from the government.
· The administration, the government and the Mayor of London are all aligned 39% of emissions come from the roads. Drastic action is needed to encourage people out of cars
· In addition to the perception survey, there was the petition at OSC, numerous Ward Forums, ward councillors were consulted all the way through the process and councillors have been lobbied by several groups. The Deputy Leader and officers have met with several groups both for and against the LTN. There was a Bowes Webinar were questions were answered.
· Bowes was filtered in 2012 but some roads were left behind. This LTN seeks to address these roads.
· The deputy leader suggested the 20 per cent air pollution rise near the primary school had come from social media. Nitrogen dioxide levels typically increase during winter because more people use their cars
· Council enforcement vehicles are now all electric and have been for months.
· Regarding failure to address inequalities impact and rights of disabled the council had carried out a special survey for people with disabilities and held focus groups with them to find out what issues they were experiencing and what could be done to help them.
· Trying to avoid the road becoming gridlocked for those that have to drive. People with disabilities made 32% fewer car trips than other Londoners yet pedestrians are five times more likely to be injured by a motor vehicle.
· Regarding the lack of clear information on funding, the government are clear in their conditions that point closures can be used in LTN’s.
· Traffic displacement on Boundary Road, these numbers have gone down not up, heavily caveated due to the pandemic. Rat running traffic has been using residential roads as a pressure valve to avoid main roads. Through traffic should be on main roads.
· The impact of air quality is being measured the results are negligible at present. There 2 places with moderate increases, one is where Haringey are creating their own LTN.
· Finally, 83% of responses from car owners, whereas 50% of residents do not have a car. 52% of non-car owners see scheme as positive whereas 56% see the scheme as negative. This report is not making recommendations on the future of the trial.
The Chair invited questions and comments from Members, relevant to the call-in reasons
· Following a question, it was confirmed that Bowes was one of the first LTN’s as Bowes has suffered for a long while with roads being used as a rat run to avoid the North Circular. It will also be in the ULEZ zone.
· Clarification was provided on the disability focus groups. The focus groups were an opportunity during the first consultation to collect information from people with protected characteristics this enabled the council to identify people who may wish to participate further so that officers could understand in more detail; what the issues were. Two focus groups formed part of the EQIA, this is a continuous process. At the start of the project published the first version of the EQIA, the second version formed part of this report. There will be a further version when a decision is made considering the insights and looking into whether an alternative design can address any issues.
· Worrying that 76% of people with disabilities have a negative view of the scheme. What changes are proposed to address these concerns. Members were advised that 75 people saw the scheme as negative. The focus groups are drilling down as to what the issues are and what can be done to mitigate. The council is working directly with Transport for All on continuing to develop the way we approach equalities and engage with protected characteristics. In terms of what can be changed in the current design this work is ongoing.
· Further to a query on whether pollution monitors are included on the monitoring of main roads surrounding the LTN. Officers confirmed the council was not using air quality monitors to gauge the trial’s impact on pollution levels. Instead, it is collecting traffic data and inputting it into a model to get an indication of the LTN’s impact on air quality.
· How will the LTN in Haringey impact on Bowes LTN? Enfield’s LTN has pushed some traffic into Haringey. Enfield are working closely with Haringey on this and felt that this is positive for both sets of residents.
· If the decision stands you want to extend the trial in normal conditions presumably from September onwards. This was confirmed as was that scheme could be left in removed or modified once the trial has finished.
· Disability groups- are you satisfied with what has been done and that you are doing enough. The committee was advised that whilst more could always be done will continue to review what has been learnt so far. The establishment of the Health Strategic Disability Reference Group is a very positive step.
· Officers confirmed following a query that the responses from the feedback are not weighted between car users and non-car users.
· Following a query how many Experimental Traffic Orders have been removed or rescinded officers agreed to come back to Cllr David-Sanders after the meeting.
· Officers reassured members that at every stage of the process both legal and counsel advice is taken.
· Following a query on bus gate proposed for Brownlow Road it was confirmed that once Haringey’s LTN is installed will look at the potential of putting a bus gate in this road. This could be part of any modified scheme.
· What is the trigger point to remove LTN’s as other councils have done? It was confirmed that the government have paid for 100 LTN’s and only 3 or 4 have been removed. This was a government election pledge so the number of LTN’s is expected to increase. More data is needed to judge whether it was a success.
· Regarding comments on emergency barriers removed as impeding emergency services. Officers advised that the council has worked collaboratively and engaged with emergency services on this scheme. No objections have been received from emergency services. Warwick Road had width restrictions to prevent heavy goods vehicles using the road. This was hindering the London Ambulance service. This scheme enabled Warwick Road to become free flowing from an ambulance perspective.
· Following a query on community engagement the Deputy Leader confirmed that of the groups; 3 were pro LTN’s, 2 neutral and one anti.
· The two ward councillors in attendance at the meeting were asked for their views. Councillor Brett commented that while she supported efforts to tackle climate change, she criticised the government timeline for rolling out the trial and said the way the LTN was implemented in Bowes was not helpful. She felt that consulted was not the right word for the prior engagement with ward councillors, who had been presented with a very tight timeline for the trial, and the reason she had agreed was because it was going to be for an experimental period that might contribute to the climate change discussion. She felt that residents were pitted against each other causing diversion. The deputy leader said that all Ward Councillors were consulted, and the community was divided as not all of the road were sorted in 2012.
· Councillor Achilleas Georgiou agreed that the problem went back to 2012 when schemes were introduced. On this issue of those with disabilities there was the opportunity to make changes to make changes to benefit people with disabilities. Can any amendments be made before the experimental orders come to an end? Cllr Georgiou said he did not believe there had been prior engagement with people living on the North Circular, which is on the boundary of the scheme, and asked if the council would hold focus groups and consultation with them. In response, Cllr Barnes advised that the LTN had reduced the number of vehicles going on to the North Circular, and that residents on the road had been free to take part in the consultation on the trial. The council would consider carrying out more engagement with those disproportionately impacted by the scheme adding that it could be modified in response to the concerns raised by people with disabilities.
Councillor Alexandrou in summing up highlighted the following; she felt that the vibrant spirit has been destroyed and the scheme is socially divisive with gridlocked roads, whilst cycle lanes are empty. The council should promote equality and eliminate discrimination, no provision for people with disabilities. No positive enhancements are provided to improve the surrounding areas to encourage walking and cycling, no alternative green travel options are offered. The scheme does not include public transport, traffic has been deliberately forced on to main roads. People are apprehensive to use North Circular and now feel trapped at home, more work is needed with focus groups.
Overview & Scrutiny considered the reasons for the call-in and the responses provided.
Councillors Aksanoglu, Anyanwu, Demirel, and Guzel voted in favour of the above decision and Councillors David-Sanders, Hockney and Levy voted for against. The original Cabinet decision was therefore agreed.