LTNs: Government says claims it is considering drastic move against schemes are ‘speculation’

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The government is alleged to be looking to ditch or amend a host of green policies after the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

The government has denied it is considering banning councils from using the national numberplate database to enforce low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTN), describing reports it is planning on doing so as “speculation”.

An article, published in The Times on Monday (July 24), alleged that the attack on the schemes is among a raft of potential green policy changes the Conservatives are considering to win over voters.

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The seeming shift away from initiatives intended to support the country’s steps towards net zero comes after the party just clung onto Uxbridge and South Ruislip in last week’s by-election, where Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion was seen to be a deciding factor.

LTNs, which are designed to prevent rat-running and improve the safety and health of residential streets, have been subject to regular opposition, primarily from pro-car groups in London.

However, polling has shown they are largely popular with those living in the area.

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A protest was recently held against the Clean Air Neighbourhood in south Fulham. Credit: David Tarsh.A protest was recently held against the Clean Air Neighbourhood in south Fulham. Credit: David Tarsh.
A protest was recently held against the Clean Air Neighbourhood in south Fulham. Credit: David Tarsh.

While not strictly an LTN, some businesses demonstrated yesterday (July 24) over the Clean Air Neighbourhood (CAN) in South Fulham, claiming it had impacted their income and pushed traffic onto other, nearby roads.

The evidence from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, however, indicates both the current trial, covering streets to the west of Wandsworth Bridge Road, and the established CAN to the east are successful in reducing car journeys and cutting local air pollution.

The government earlier this year cut funding for LTNs. When asked whether it is also looking to ban councils from accessing the central DVLA database, which enables local authorities to fine drivers who enter car-free zones, a spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) described The Times’ report as “speculation”, and said its position on LTNs has not changed.

Other policies The Times noted could be ditched or amended include giving small carmakers beyond the current 2030 target to fully convert to electric vehicles, and delaying the deadlines currently in-place for landlords to improve the energy efficient rating of rental properties.

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Despite pressure from senior Labour figures following the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election, Mr Khan has said he will push ahead with the ULEZ expansion, planned for August 29, with a source close to the mayor describing the scheme as “necessary”.

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