Dominic Browne 09 August 2023

Transport planners write to PM in defence of LTNs

Transport planners write to PM in defence of LTNs image
Image: Will Durrant /

The Transport Planning Society (TPS) has written to prime minister Rishi Sunak in defence of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and other active travel and modal-shift schemes in the wake of the Government's push-back.

Following controversy over the ULEZ expansion in London, which appeared to help the Conservatives secure the recent Uxbridge by-election win, Prime Minister Sunak ordered the Department for Transport to carry out a review of LTNs.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the PM criticised LTNs and mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ plans suggesting they were ‘anti-motorist’.

The TPS said LTNs were 'not anti-car but pro-people and support the government’s wider policy goals'.

In the letter to Number 10, the TPS chair Ben Plowden argues local improvements to walking and cycling can help tackle 'inflation and the cost of living, and improving public health and cutting NHS waiting lists'.

'Over the past three years, many local authorities have successfully implemented active travel policies like LTNs under guidance from the government. It is crucial that the government builds on this success by maintaining a consistent framework of policies, guidance and funding so the sector can move forward constructively,' the letter states.

Mr Plowden added in a press statement that 'by supporting active modes of transportation, such as walking and cycling, and creating safer, people-friendly spaces, LTNs contribute to cleaner air and foster healthier communities'.

'These initiatives are essential in delivering several of the Government’s strategies, including Gear Change, that sets the target to increase the proportion of trips in towns and cities made by walking and cycling to 50% by 2030.'

He also highlighted a recent Department for Transport survey, which showed eight out of 10 people support measures to reduce road traffic, and two-thirds support the reallocation of road space.

A recent analysis by Valent Projects, a social media disinformation consultancy, identified thousands of dubious or apparently fake Twitter (X) accounts, designed to boost anti-ULEZ rhetoric, set up in the last year.

After stripping the seemingly genuine accounts from the surge in anti-ULEZ profiles, the group were left with 3,702.

Valent said: 'Amongst these, we found clear evidence of inauthenticity (e.g. newly registered, use of fake names, high retweet and duplication ratio, focused solely on attacking ULEZ). We call these accounts “spreaders". We suspect that these spreader accounts are being controlled (or semi controlled) by automated software that can direct multiple accounts simultaneously.'

This article was originally published by Highways.

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, 'Now I am become Uxbridge, destroyer of rational climate discourse'.

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