Ellie Ames 17 July 2023

Councillors’ LTN tweets had ‘no effect’ on elections

Councillors’ LTN tweets had ‘no effect’ on elections image
Image: Will Durrant / Shutterstock.com.

London councillors’ tweets about low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) did not affect whether they held their seats at the 2022 elections, a study has found.

In research commissioned by campaign group Possible, the Active Travel Academy at Westminster University analysed tweets by London councillors who represented areas with LTNs.

It found that councillors who tweeted about LTNs – whether in favour or against – between January 2020 and the 2022 elections were no more or less likely to hold their seat than councillors who did not tweet about LTNs at all.

The study did suggest that Labour councillors who tweeted positively about LTNs received ‘a small but measurable positive change in relative number of votes’ between the 2018 and the 2022 elections.

It found no positive tweets about the scheme from any London Conservative councillor who represented an area with an LTN.

LTNs have been in London since the 1970s but several more were introduced in the spring of 2020.

There was speculation about how councillors’ views on the schemes would impact the elections in 2022.

Prior to polling day, most London councillors did not tweet about LTNs at all, the study found.

Hirra Khan Adeogun, co-director of campaigns at Possible said: ‘The debate around low traffic neighbourhoods on Twitter is polarised, toxic and febrile, but our new analysis shows that they aren’t the election-defining culture war frontier their critics wish that they were.

‘This groundbreaking new analysis should give politicians everywhere the courage to speak up for low traffic neighbourhoods, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be punished at the ballot box for championing calmer streets.’

The study did highlight its caveats, including being limited to Twitter and to London, and said it did not suggest that the findings would be replicated in other parts of the UK or at other elections.

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