Traffic barrier
These low-traffic neighbourhood planters have been in place for a year

Lewisham Council has launched a six-week consultation on its low-traffic neighbourhood in Lee Green and Hither Green, which was introduced last summer to stop rat-running through residential streets in the area.

The scheme was brought in under Covid-19 emergency transport measures last year to make it easier for residents to walk and cycle while capacity in public transport was reduced, and to reduce air pollution.

But councillors rolled back key elements of the scheme in October after conceding that traffic had been displaced to roads outside the area, such as the South Circular, leaving locals in neighbouring areas concerned about road safety and increased air pollution. Some physical barriers were removed and replaced with cameras. 

At the time, traffic congestion outside central London was regularly at 150 per cent or more than the levels the previous year, and Lewisham said the situation needed to be “urgently” addressed. 
More than 30,000 residents living in and around the area should receive a copy of the council’s survey through their door over the next week.  

But the survey is also available online and the council is urging all residents and businesses based outside the zone to share their views over the next six weeks.  

Leahurst Road
This barrier on Leahurst Road, Hither Green was opened to traffic last autumn

Sophie McGeevor, Lewisham’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Low-traffic neighbourhoods were introduced at speed – at the request of the government – at the height of the pandemic last year.  

“Across London people have mixed views about them, and Lewisham is no different, which is why it’s really important we do everything we can to make sure we hear as many voices as possible.  

“The impact of Covid-19 is still being felt and the way we travel and move around is still changing, but a year on, we think it’s important we ask residents in and around the LTN about their experiences and whether they think it’s meeting its aims.  

“We want to make sure everyone has the chance to share their views, so we have a range of ways for people to do that, both online and via a paper survey.  This feedback will help us to make a decision about the future of the LTN later this year.” 

The findings of the consultation, along with a summary report, is expected to be presented to Lewisham’s elected mayor, Damien Egan, and his cabinet later this year. 

Residents can fill in the survey at until Sunday 8 August.

Last week Greenwich Council said it would be replacing planters with cameras in its own low-traffic neighbourhood in west Greenwich, with fears growing among some local residents that the scheme there could also be watered down.

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Gráinne Cuffe is the Local Democracy Reporter for Lewisham. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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