A letter to the Sheffield Star.

A government-commissioned report has recently been published showing that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are more popular than not. For the residents living inside them, active travel increases, congestion decreases, and air quality improves, all of which help contribute to a greater quality of life.  Furthermore, two of the criticisms often levelled at LTNs, that they impact emergency service response times and increase traffic on surrounding roads, were not backed up by the evidence.  The reason you may not have seen this report?  The government commissioned it to try and prove the opposite was true. They then buried it under 10 other press releases and documents hoping no one would notice its existence.

In Sheffield, Labour too have failed to show any leadership or principles when they caved in to pressure from a minority of vocal opponents and removed the modal filter in Nether Edge at Archer Lane. This is despite it being popular with local residents, effective at managing traffic flow and allowing road users to try out alternative modes of transport.  This decision was especially upsetting for parents and teachers of children at the four local primary and secondary schools who had felt the benefits of their children being able to walk and wheel safely to and from school every day whilst the filter was in place (as reported here in the Star, 17/10/23).

In contrast, the Sheffield Green Party are proud to stand up for people’s right to breathe good quality air, to be able to move around safely, and with an increased choice on how we travel.  We recognise that it’s not LTNs that are slowing down emergency response times, but congested roads. We will continue to make the case that driving should be prioritised for those who need to do so the most so that everyone can benefit.  Yes, mistakes have been made in the past and improvements can be made to how such schemes are consulted on and implemented.  However, it is only the Greens who have the courage to take difficult decisions to try and make Sheffield a safer, cleaner, greener and more inclusive city for all.

Cllr Maroof Raouf, Nether Edge and Sharrow

Maroof is currently standing for re-election. See his campaign page here.

Christine Gilligan Kubo
Cllr Christine Gilligan

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ordered a review of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), saying that he is on the side of drivers and is supporting people to “use their cars to do all the things that matter to them.”

He argues the LTNs harm the freedom of motorists.

It seems this government is willing to put the lives of our children and grandchildren at risk by refusing to fund any more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and scrapping existing ones.This is a massively backwards attitude that shows the Tory government is not serious about road safety, tackling climate change, improving air quality in local neighbourhoods, encouraging more active lifestyles and better health outcomes.

Around 200 LTNs have been set up since 2020. They aim to reduce through-traffic in residential streets to encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transport. People who need to drive to their homes or visit friends can still drive to homes in an LTN.

They open up networks of streets so people can safely travel through the area on foot, bicycle, using wheelchairs or by bus. They can also create spaces to play and to socialise.

Reducing motor traffic, reduces air pollution, noise pollution and road collisions and makes the character of residential streets more pleasant, inclusive and safer for people to walk and cycle.
Making space on our streets is key to achieving cleaner air and a lower carbon footprint whilst building healthier, safer and more resilient communities.

Many car journeys in Sheffield are under a mile and these short distances can easily be walked or cycled if people feel safer on their streets.

Removing existing LTNs and cancelling funding for future schemes is not harming the freedom of motorists. It is harming the future of our city, our children’s health and our planet.

Cllr Christine Gilligan Kubo,
Sheffield Green Party