Low Traffic Neighbourhood’s – Southwark’s new Brexit

It is now almost a year since experimental measures have been put in place across Southwark to trial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. This was all done bypassing the consultation process using powers granted to deal with Covid.

It must be said that there are extreme views about LTN’s both for and against, and the arguments seem to be as polarised as the Brexit debate that has been going on for the last few years. Another similarity to Brexit is the way Southwark appear to be squandering the 18 month trial period to hold open debate and bring both sides of the argument together, to find some middle ground compromise. Just as Boris Johnson refused to go to the negotiating table until the 11th hour resulting in a pigs ear of a deal, Southwark seem to be doing little to hold any open debate, or put any of the conversations that have taken place on public record.

Everybody supports the target of better air quality, as things stand, nothing is being done to try and find a middle ground solution. Also, the minutes of the various consultation meetings with residents that have taken place remain unpublished in the public domain, and the clock is now running down to autumn 2021 when the final evaluation will be made.

Some compromise ideas could be:

  • Does the scheme need to be 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week? Should the restrictions be limited to the working day, and allow residents to access shops & services in the evenings?
  • Could ANPR technology be used to exempt local residents, but still eliminate all ‘rat-run’ traffic?
  • Could exemptions be made for local residents who have a temporary need to access health services (ie: cancer survivors attending chemo, or residents with temporary medical conditions)

There is still time to hold open debate, and share it in a public forum to try and avoid two polarised camps that Brexit managed to do, and leave a lingering resentment for years to come.

There are some interesting campaigns being run elsewhere in the borough, such as this one set up by One Dulwich