Croydon’s failing Labour Council has developed a reputation of not listening to residents, whilst instead pushing ahead with their own agenda, despite any local fallout or upset.
This has been particularly evident with the poorly consulted and implemented Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN), which were installed across the Borough in 2020. Even during these very difficult times, the local community in Crystal Palace and South Norwood were very vocal and successful in showing their opposition to the LTN’s forced on to their community. They arranged a series of high-profile protests and managed to ensure their voices were heard loud and clear!
It is no surprise to now see the community in Broad Green following suit, by similarly showing their dismay with the LTN on Parsons Mead. They are holding regular demonstrations against the restrictions currently in place, and have regular patrols of volunteers stopping drivers from mistakenly driving into the restricted zone and getting fined as a result. I have been informed by the Parsons Mead protest group that they have managed to stop over 400 cars from mistakenly entering the restricted zone, over a period of just four days! They have even managed to get featured on ITV News!
Cllr Mohammed Ali, the Labour Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon has previously stated:
“These schemes and any subsequent changes are in line with our commitment to safer and cleaner streets, mitigating transport related emissions, and replacing unnecessary car journeys with more active modes of transport, e.g.: walking and cycling”.
I don’t disagree with the sentiment, and ambition to be more environmental minded in Croydon. It is vitally important for Croydon, and across the country, that we take urgent proactive steps to lower emissions whilst investigating sustainable alternative transport methods to help lower unnecessary car journeys.
Croydon Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. However, we have not been given any clear evidence by this Labour Council that the LTN schemes across the borough are making any real tangible difference to our local air quality, or that these LTN schemes have helped to reduce unnecessary car journeys as a result.
A key part of setting the Climate Emergency Strategy in Croydon was to provide transparent and relevant data and evidence to stakeholders and the community, in order to assess the Council's performance concerning climate targets and actions.
Whilst the financial cost for LTN implementation for the council is low, the carbon cutting output is also projected to be low-medium, and not enough has been done to comprehensively monitor and evaluate the impact on existing areas with temporary LTNs.
As the Conservative Lead for Sustainable Croydon, I have requested data and the full details of what the Council is using as the environmental benchmarks and thresholds to determine if the trial schemes are a success or not. To date no information has been forthcoming.
My concern is that the LTN schemes have instead dispersed and increased the local traffic and emissions to previously quiet roads, and drastically increased the traffic to nearby main roads as a result. As such it would seem that LTN schemes do very little, if anything, to help mitigate local traffic emissions.
The Labour Council have history here, having installed similar schemes across the borough, including Woodside and Addiscombe, on a “temporary” trial schemes basis of a maximum of 18 months. No consultation took place prior to their installation, and the local communities have had to just put up with what this Labour Council has forced on to residents!
The Labour Council's recommendation that LTNs should be piloted across the whole borough is not evidence-based. There is an assumption in the Council's action plan that LTNs will increase local business activity, but early indications from residents and local businesses do not support this. I am concerned that the business feedback obtained in the last consultation for the Crystal Palace and South Norwood LTN, were obtained during a pandemic. Were all 300 businesses who were asked to take part in the consultation open again for business at the time? Only an estimated 47 out of 300 businesses took part in the consultation, how can this low level of feedback from businesses in the affected areas, enable the Council to have a true and accurate understanding of the impact LTNs have on local businesses, be it negative or positive?
I have recently had meetings with numerous community groups in Croydon to discuss the local issues associated with the LTNs in their community, and across the borough more broadly. Everyone I have spoken to agrees that it is very important to lower carbon emissions and that we need to take proactive steps to change our driving habits.
However, there is clearly a high level of frustration, confusion, and dissatisfaction with how this failing Labour Council has forced LTN schemes on to the local communities in Croydon, with no real consideration on the impacts they have.
It is clear that this Labour Council is failing to respond to these groups’ genuine concerns, either by email or attendance at numerous meetings to discuss the issues. This is clearly not good enough, and the people of Croydon deserve better!
It has recently been announced by the Council that a LTN consultation will be launched in the “next few weeks”, I have not yet been given any details of the consultation. I have requested, as a matter of urgency, the full scope including who will be allowed to take part and what benchmarks/parameters will be used to determine if any of LTN schemes are rated as a success or failure. Similarly I have asked on what criteria an LTN could be removed or made permanent.
I will not hold my breath, but I hope this consultation will be a true and honest consultation. This Labour Council must genuinely listen to any concerns raised and not just complete a tick box exercise that has no real consideration as to what these LTN schemes mean to communities across Croydon, and of course to any visitors to the areas concerned.
I remain very concerned that the LTN schemes introduced across Croydon, which were apparently installed to help improve local air quality and promote communities to use more sustainable modes of transport, have simply failed. They are causing the local community and drivers much frustration and confusion, with hundreds being issued with unfair fines and with no tangible environmental benefits. Indeed if it is true that the bankrupt Labour Council is using the LTN’s as a cash cow to bring money into the Council coffers and not on environmental grounds – that would be terrible.
I am calling on Croydon Council to remove the “trial” LTN schemes across the borough and instead investigate alternative methods to introduce safer, cleaner streets and different ways to mitigate transport related emissions and replacing unnecessary car journeys.
Please sign and share our petition, and help us ensure that Croydon’s Labour Council hear your local objections, loud and clear!
“We the undersigned call on Croydon Council to remove the temporary trial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods installed across the borough.
These schemes are clearly not working as intended, with no tangible evidence of environmental benefits or lowering of unnecessary car journeys.
They are instead causing frustration and confusion for local communities and drivers, who are receiving unfair fines as a result, and damaging local businesses!”
Cllr Scott Roche
Shadow Cabinet Member for Sustainable Croydon