Exclusive: Vigilantes plotting ‘uprising’ on Facebook and Telegram against London low-traffic neighbourhoods

A LondonWorld investigation found that the campaigners have been monitoring the movements of councillors who brought in the controversial pro-walking and cycling schemes.

Furious motorists are using an encrypted messaging app favoured by terrorists to recruit “serious contenders not keyboard warriors” for an “uprising” against low-traffic neighbourhoods, LondonWorld can reveal.

Among the plots being discussed on Telegram – used by ISIS to recruit fanatics for the 2015 Paris attack and 2016 Brussels bombings – are plans to continuously blast music at councillors’ houses and block roads with raucous street parties.

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Low-traffic neighbourhoods - which prioritise pedestrians and cyclists over cars - were rolled out during the corovirus pandemic, to allow people to travel safely.

Supporters say they are essential to tackling pollution and climate change, by encouraging Londoners to take more sustainable transport.

However vigilante drivers - who claim the closure of residential roads has gridlocked main roads in London - are now threatening to take matters into their own hands.

The madcap schemes were uncovered as part of a two-week LondonWorld investigation, which saw undercover reporters infiltrate a series of anti-LTN groups on social media.

An image of Hackney councillors shared on an anti-LTN Facebook group. Credit: Facebook

Users in one group shared chilling real-time updates on the locations of senior Hackney council officials – including mayor Philip Glanville and transport boss Mete Coban.

A picture taken from a parked car showed the duo deep in conversation with four female colleagues.

The caption read: “They are on Stoke Newington Church street.”

One user replied with a plea for a vehicle to mount the pavement, hinting at an ISIS-style truck attack.

He wrote: “If only a council dust cart could mount the pavement now.”

Another wrote: “Wish I was there.”

One anti-LTN vigilante says he wishes a council dust cart could “mount the pavement”. Credit: Facebook

Another popular post on the group saw activists agree to organise “uprisings” over Telegram, after being told to “be careful” when discussing plots in public.

One prolific member – who LondonWorld cannot name for legal reasons – called for an “uprising” over the controversial traffic schemes.

He wrote: “They can’t keep inflicting misery on us.

“There needs to be an uprising.

“I’m looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. “Pro action is required now!”

One poster in the private social media group, said that there “needs to be an uprising” against LTNs, and added that he was “looking for serious contenders not keyboard warriors. Credit: Facebook

After ‘liking’ a comment warning him to “be careful what is said”, the user agreed to organise the noise-blasting campaign over Telegram, saying “louder the better. Msg me when.”

Within 12 hours, he revealed that he’d finalised plans for a raucous street party outside a councillor’s house.

He wrote: “Ok we are going to organise a parklet party on [REDACTED].

“I’m bringing the music.

“Bring and share drinks and snacks.”

Last year, anti-LTN activists vandalised a traffic filter. Credit: Jon Burke/Twitter

Another user complained that the group wasn’t “strong enough” for a campaign of “civil disobedience”.

Their post read: “I would say a program of civil disobedience, but l think we’re not strong enough.

“An attack on one would be an attack on all but too many would soon give in.

“They would call the bluff and we’d be in a worse position. Needs organising and the will to do it.”

LondonWorld passed on information to Hackney Council, which was the target of the vigilantes.

Last year, anti-LTN activists cut the wires to traffic cameras in the east London borough and also spray painted over “no cars” signs.

Dulwich Village planters damaged in Southwark. Credit: Richard Leeming

In Dulwich Village, Southwark, vigilantes dug up the planters which had been used to create a traffic filter.

LTN schemes can see drivers issued fines of up to £130 for using the wrong roads – even if they live locally.

Councils insist LTNs are vital for tackling pollution and stopping motorists from using residential streets as rat runs.

But activists insist the schemes increase pollution in poor neighbourhoods and delay emergency services.

In July, Lambeth Council was forced to step up security patrols after LTN rebels swiped street signs and vandalised planters used to block traffic.

And Ealing Council scrapped LTN plans earlier this month after 2,000 protesters marched on the Town Hall over a trial scheme.

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws show that just 10 London councils raked in a total of £14million in LTN fines in the last year.