Cllr Ruth Mersereau on her bike
Cllr Ruth Mersereau

Sheffield Green Party Councillors are backing local residents’ calls for safer roads, keeping the closure of a number of roads to through motor traffic. The roads remain open to people who walk, cycle or use a wheelchair or pram.

The Active Travel Neighbourhoods in Nether Edge and Walkley/Crookes were established using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in 2022, stopping through-traffic on a number of roads, preventing rat-running and making them safer for people on foot and on bike.

Green Party Councillor Ruth Mersereau, who is a member of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee, said:

“I have had an overwhelming number of residents contact me asking me to support making both of these Active Travel Neighbourhood schemes permanent. They’ve told me that the improvements have been a huge success and that people want to keep them. Children feel safer to play in the streets, and neighbourhoods are more pleasant and liveable. I was particularly impressed when primary school children from Nether Edge contacted me to express their appreciation of being able to walk safely to school and to Scouts. Any reopening of these roads would be met with utter dismay.

Cllr Maroof Raouf with "road open" signage
Cllr Maroof Raouf shows the road is open

“If we are serious about reducing road collisions, addressing climate change and health problems caused by lack of physical activity, then it is schemes like this that really make a difference. We have to put communities before cars and back safer streets for local people.

“I have studied the objections to the changes and the evidence shows that there has not been a measurable rise in traffic on adjacent streets. There are people who want to drive their cars where they like, with no restrictions, but we have a responsibility to the wider community and to residents who want to live in a safer, calmer, quieter and more pleasant environment.  The Council took a small but important step by installing these filters and they have been a success. It would be irresponsible to go backwards.”


The issues will be discussed and voted on at the meeting of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Policy Committee on Wednesday 20th September 2023.

The Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, Cllr Douglas Johnson, responds to a constituent’s enquiry about the benefits of Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Nether Edge and in Crookes.


In any community, there are going to be different points of view.  However, here are a few points of perspective I would note:

  1. These schemes have been entirely drawn up based on what residents in the area have requested through the public consultation.  This was a completely open engagement exercise with no original proposal at all being put forward by transport planners: it was a blank sheet for residents.
  2. Secondly, this is a scheme based on an “experimental” traffic regulation order which means there is now a 6 month period for further consultation.  In reality, people can often focus on commenting constructively once they see a scheme in place.  It is always helpful if people can give comments so that it can lead to a better scheme whilst there is funding available to make improvements.
  3. Thirdly, whilst any low-traffic scheme inconveniences those who own cars to some extent, the scheme overall is to cater for everyone, including those who don’t have cars.  Many people are both inconvenienced and put at risk by the number, movements, speeds and parking of cars around these roads and it is important that the needs of people who don’t own cars are also taken into account, including children.  The enquirer made an interesting point about cycling to school in the past – surely we should be aiming to restore the ability of school children to cycle (and walk) safely now.
  4. Fourthly, this is indeed the point of the scheme overall.  Such schemes are based on the evidence that bringing in minor interventions like this doesn’t just re-route traffic but actually leads to a drop in overall traffic volumes.  This benefits everyone, drivers and non-drivers.
  5. Finally the “devious plan” that the original enquirer referred to, that prevented resurfacing of the street, was the outsourcing of the council’s street repair functions to private contractors (Amey) under the previous Labour administration.  This massive deal has been (and still is) enormously costly to the city but has also missed any opportunity for safety improvements to be made because of the like-for-like replacement specified in the 25-year contract.  It is a prime example of the sort of backward-thinking that we as Greens have campaigned strongly against.


Trial closure of Division StSheffield Green Party has commented on how the city centre should look, in an amendment to be debated at the City Council on Wednesday 7 July 2021

Setting out a new vision for the city centre look, Cllr Douglas Johnson said,

“I want to look forward to a vibrant city centre that supports Sheffield’s local businesses, has a good quality of life for an increasing residential population and is an enjoyable place to visit.”

“That means a city centre with interesting independent businesses, streets where you can sit out with a coffee instead of a line of traffic, and green spaces not choking fumes.”

“We want to support green ways to travel to town and safely back home again: more pleasant walking, safer cycling, more reliable buses and rapid trams.  We know we need to make it cheaper and more convenient to come to town on the bus instead of by private car.  We need to set aside space for green space for the public, not storage for private vehicles.”

Cllr Douglas Johnson is the council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport and Leader of the Green Group.

Cllr Ruth Mersereau is Executive Adviser to Douglas Johnson.  Ruth spoke on the need for a city centre designed for people.  See her speech here.


  1. The Greens amendment proposes that the council:

(h) believes that Sheffield must look forward to a vibrant city centre that supports Sheffield’s local businesses, has a good quality of life for an increasing residential population and is an enjoyable place to visit

(i) believes that good access into the city centre is vital and we should aim to increase the numbers of people visiting on foot, by bike, by bus, tram and train

(j) therefore believes that the best way to support a good bus and tram network is to make it cheaper and more convenient to arrive by public transport than by private car.

(k) believes that we need to improve air quality and should therefore reduce the number of unnecessary journeys by private car;

(l) believes that reducing congestion in the city centre will make streets safer as well as cleaner and more pleasant to enjoy.

(m) recognises that the city centre and its residents are desperately short of green spaces and outdoor public spaces, and that we need to free up some car parking spaces for use as  public green/outdoor space to make the city a more attractive and healthier place to visit and to live in

(n) welcomes independent shops and would like to see more neighbourhood shops and services, so that a wide range of shops and services  is within 15 minutes walk.

(o) notes that research by the London Borough of Waltham Forest showed that people walking to their high street spent 40% more than people who drove but that business owners massively over-estimated their customers’ car use;

(p) recognises that whilst blue badge parking is still necessary for some, believes that a modern, Electric FreeBee bus would make the city centre more accessible to many disabled people, recognising also that car ownership is lower among disabled people.


Most of the amendment was passed but Labour and LibDem councillors joined to vote against (m) and (p).

The Green City ward councillors welcome the Connecting Sheffield proposals for improving active travel infrastructure by adding segregated cycle lanes and much needed pedestrian crossings, reducing public transport travel time and adding greenery to the ward, which is one of the most deprived wards in Sheffield in greenery and green spaces.

Ruth and Douglas at Ball St Bridge Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
Cllr Ruth Mersereau and Cllr Douglas Johnson at Ball St bridge at a Sheffield Greenpeace event calling for more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

In discussions with and listening to residents in Kelham Island and Neepsend the need for cutting off the rat run through Kelham Island has come up many times, we welcome that this scheme finally addresses this.

Alongside this the crossing at Rutland Road junction has been much requested by residents and visitors alike and is something we have been pushing for for many years. People do not feel safe crossing there at the moment, and there is no nearby managed crossing. Adding one will make a big difference to the area, especially considering potentially increased demand with applications for new developments in the area.

Dutch Roundabout proposal for West Bar
ConnectingSheffield proposals for a Dutch roundabout at West Bar

It is welcome to see a change in transportation planning and to see innovations like the Dutch roundabout proposed, which would give pedestrians and cyclists priority. We welcome this, although note that improvements can be made to the suggested to design, such as those made by CycleSheffield and wish these are taken into account.

To meet our carbon neutral ambitions as a city, country and world we must make carbon free means of transportation as accessible as possible. Improving public transport infrastructure and reducing the time taken to reach destinations by public transport is important in providing environmentally friendly viable alternatives to private car travel. Improving active travel infrastructure has been shown to increase the amount of use of active travel, which as well as being good for the planet is also good for our health.

We would like to encourage all nearby residents, people who work in the area and those who travel in the area to submit feedback so suggestions can be taken into account.

Feedback can be left on the Connecting Sheffield page: