Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
alert-–-council-rakes-in-12million-from-hated-clean-air-neighbourhood-in-hammersmith-and-fulham-–-as-furious-locals-blast-‘cynical-greenwashing-scheme-which-diverts-traffic-elsewhere’Alert – Council rakes in £12million from hated Clean Air Neighbourhood in Hammersmith and Fulham – as furious locals blast ‘cynical greenwashing scheme which diverts traffic elsewhere’

A Labour-run council has raked in almost £12 million of fines after stinging motorists travelling through its hated Clean Air Neighbourhood, as furious locals blast the ‘cynical greenwashing scheme’.

The traffic calming scheme, which works in a similar fashion to controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN), was made permanent by Hammersmith and Fulham Council in December 2021.

It has caused a furious reaction from residents who blasted it as nothing more than a a cash-grab by the council that simply diverts traffic onto other roads.

One resident told the Telegraph: ‘It is blindingly obvious that the infrastructure supporting this naked money-making scheme is not fit for purpose. 

‘This is a cynical greenwashing scheme which diverts traffic elsewhere, does nothing to save the planet and benefits the richer residents of South Fulham living inside the leafy green streets, at the expense of those residents living along the main roads.’

Hammersmith and Fulham council have issued 341,000 penalty charge notices from just five cameras in the hated South Fulham west LTN

Hammersmith and Fulham council have issued 341,000 penalty charge notices from just five cameras in the hated South Fulham west LTN

The South Fulham LTN covers New Kings Road, Wandsworth Bridge and the River Thames and was introduced in December 2022

The South Fulham LTN covers New Kings Road, Wandsworth Bridge and the River Thames and was introduced in December 2022

Hundreds of LTNs were widely rolled out during the pandemic by cash-strapped councils

Hundreds of LTNs were widely rolled out during the pandemic by cash-strapped councils 

Another resident said that the scheme had ‘divided the lcal community, damaged local businesses, harmed people’s livelihoods and their lives, and it raises serious ethical concerns.’

READ HERE: The roads to nowhere: Inside the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods dividing communities across Britain and bringing misery to drivers – so what do the people living in them REALLY think?

Local Conservative MP Greg Hands added that it ‘has had an awful impact on local businesses, and heaped extra congestion on to New Kings Road and Wandsworth Bridge Roads’.

Others have raised concerns about the safety of women after Uber drivers refused to drive into the zone to drop women at their front doors over fears of being charged. 

While residents within the borough are allowed to move freely amongst the streets, alongside black cab drivers, carers and businesses’ visitors, out-of-borough drivers will be fined. 

The CAN, which takes aim at ‘rat-running’, covers New Kings Road, Wandsworth Bridge and the River Thame and took in £11.8m from fining drivers last year.

The western scheme collected £7.8m in fines in 2023 while the eastern scheme took in around £4million in fines, according to the council’s data.

Further to this the council spent £20,000 on road markings and signage with a further £10,000 used for promotion letters and leaflets when it was first introduced.

The council, however, has said it only expects to generate around £5.6m this year, claiming drivers will adapt to the scheme. 

It just one example of a traffic-calming scheme rolled out by a council during the pandemic.

Hundreds of LTNs were widely introduced  by cash-strapped councils during the pandemic in a bid to reduce the number of vehicles travelling through an area.

A protest held against low-traffic neighbourhoods in Ealing, West London, in April 2021

A protest held against low-traffic neighbourhoods in Ealing, West London, in April 2021

The Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the Tories were 'on the side of motorists' as he presented new guidance for local authorities that obliges them to consider whether residents support the implementation of an LTN.

The Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the Tories were ‘on the side of motorists’ as he presented new guidance for local authorities that obliges them to consider whether residents support the implementation of an LTN.

The traffic calming scheme works by using planters or barriers to stop traffic being able to drive along a certain route in hope that it will make roads more pedestrian-friendly and reduce air pollution.

Yet the scheme has divided communities across the country – while some say it does make areas safer and less polluted others branded them an attack on motorists and blamed them for simply pushing traffic onto other roads.

Impacted locals fear for ambulances struggling to get through, traffic gridlock on surrounding roads and the impact on local businesses due to the schemes, which have already generated an estimated £100million of income for local councils. 

Earlier this month, transport minister Mark Harper lashed out at the ‘anti-motorist’ schemes accusing councils of using them as cash cows as he unveiled a clampdown on their introduction.

He argued that Tories were ‘on the side of motorists’ as he presented new guidance for local authorities that obliges them to consider whether residents support the implementation of an LTN. 

Mr Harper said that there were ‘examples of councils where ‘a council hasn’t taken its local community with them’ – citing two schemes in Newcastle and South London.

In May last year, a bollard on Temple Street off Cowley Road in Oxford was knocked down and placed in the adjacent planters - just 24 hours after being installed

In May last year, a bollard on Temple Street off Cowley Road in Oxford was knocked down and placed in the adjacent planters – just 24 hours after being installed 

‘Some councils have done it and the assessment is that they are raising money,’ he told Sky News.

‘This is about a system that means that councils properly balance the needs of motorists and other road users, not an anti-motorist scheme pitting different road users against each other is not helpful and not sensible.

‘That is what we are trying to stop. The other political parties have nothing to say about it, we are on the side of drivers and other road users and we think they can co-exist sensibly.’ 

The Department for Transport published draft statutory guidance for councils on LTNs setting out that they must gain buy-in from local residents, businesses and emergency services when considering implementing new schemes. 

If councils fail to deliver road schemes that work for local people, they could see future funding withdrawn and the Government could take control of an authority’s roads, under powers from the Traffic Management Act 

The new legislation, which will asses whether councils have ‘widely mismanaged’ its LTN policies, is due to come into place this summer. 

has contacted Hammersmith and Fulham council. 

The council told The Times that ‘fines have tumbled by almost 80 per cent’ and that no business had closed because of the LTN.  

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