A survey by Lewisham Liberal Democrats, with nearly 1,000 responses, found that residents were united in feeling that the scheme introduced over the summer, is not fit for purpose.
The majority of residents felt that the scheme failed in its main objective – to tackle the climate emergency. The scheme, which closes many Lee Green roads to through traffic, has created gridlock in neighbouring streets and the increased congestion has added to air pollution, in areas where air pollution already needed to be reduced.
Residents cite many frustrations over delays, confusing signage and missed appointments but the biggest complaint is over the failure of Lewisham Councillors to engage with local residents to discuss concerns. For many residents there have been unexpected and severe consequences on their lives.
The LTN was introduced under Covid19 Emergency powers without proper consultation before it commenced.
The on-line survey was completed mainly by residents of Lee Green and Hither Green, with a few from neighbouring wards which have seen a huge increase in traffic. It was led by Lee Green resident Dr Karen Pratt.
The report calls on the Council to suspend the scheme and undertake a full impact assessment, and to then consider alternatives measures which would effectively reduce traffic and serve local residents.
In addition to measuring the environment impact (which would include air monitoring on routes taking displaced traffic), the Liberal Democrats want the effect on businesses, the Emergency Services and the well being of local residents to be fully considered.
Commenting on behalf of Lewisham Liberal Democrats Chris Maines said
“We expected those against any traffic management to be most vocal but critically this scheme is also being condemned by people who want some form of traffic reduction in the area. There is huge frustration about the appalling consultation and the lack of response from the Council and councillors. The majority of residents have concluded it is not fit for purpose.”
“I think most people want to see measures that encourage us all to use our cars far less and Liberal Democrats have long championed safer roads for pedestrians and cyclists in Lewisham. However the evidence from this scheme is that simply displaces car and vans onto other streets, and has created gridlock and almost certainly higher levels of air pollution around Lewisham.
“The Council must respond to the anger of resident and think again develop a scheme that works.”