Ruth Parkinson’s address to the Full Council meeting on Monday 24th July 2023. 5 mins – Ruth was allowed five minutes to speak and present the residents petition to councillors. A further 10 minutes was ‘allocated’ for councillors to speak and respond. Neither Ruth as the lead petitioner, nor any accompanying petitioners in the chamber were allowed speak again or take part in the discussion. This is her presentation.

“The current LTNs were introduced during the Covid19 emergency under ETOs which were temporary measures to help social distancing. They seem now to have taken on a different purpose to address three major concerns:

  1. Pollution
  2. Road Safety
  3. Physical inactivity

So I’d like to address each one in turn:

1 Pollution According to Hackney Council’s “AIR QUALITY ACTION PLAN 2015-2019” 

“pollution levels are highest in the most densely built up areas…. along the borough’s busiest roads. Away from the busy main roads, air quality objectives tend to be met”

“increasing road congestion contributes to worsening air pollution, delays in vital bus services and freight and makes many streets unpleasant places to walk and cycle”

“schools on main roads in the borough are exposed to higher levels of pollution”

Hackeny Council knew that pollution wasn’t an issue in side streets where LTNs are focused BUT MAIN ROADS

Hackney Council knew that pollution levels were met on side roads BUT NOT ON MAIN ROADS so this deliberate policy to force traffic onto already highly polluted roads is ignoring the effects it has on those living on main roads and using main roads to walk to shop and to go to school.

Quote from Hackney Council’s “Hackney Emergency transport Plan 2020:

“Public Health and Safety Implications will be profound for those groups already disproportionately impacted upon by secondary effects of motor vehicle use, including those on low income, people of minority ethnic background the elderly and children”

Hackney Council knew increasing congestion on main roads would lead to higher pollution levels for people living on these roads, for children going to school on these roads, for people wallking and working on these roads. THIS IS CALLED SOCIAL INJUSTICE. Any reduction in Nitrous Oxide in LtNs is minimal whereas main roads and boundary roads suffered disproportionately. In fact by forcing people to drive more miles to get to their destination both inside and outside LTNs it actually contributes to pollution. More miles are driven not less MORE CONGESTION IS CREATED NOT LESS.

2. Road Safety: From 2 different sources of data as well as Hackney’s own data side roads are not as unsafe as the council implies:

Accidents mainly happen on main roads and at junctions with main roads, NOT SIDE ROADS. In fact data suggests that closing side roads is actually making main roads more unsafe adding to the number of accidents recorded.

Hackney Council collected accident data showing an increase in accidents on surrounding main roads. Clearly the majority of accidents happen on main roads NOT SIDE ROADS. Hackney’s Policy of closing roads makes main roads more “unsafe” not less. KINGSLAND ROAD, MARE STREET, DALSTON LANE, GRAHAM ROAD AND QUEENSBRIDGE ROAD ALL REPORT INCREASED LEVELS OF ACCIDENTS.

3. Physical Inactivity: 

A seemingly “noble” cause but the council’s policy seems to ignore that 14% of the UK population have mobility issues. In the 2021 Hackney census 2021. 1/5th of people living in Hackeny have a disability. That’s 37,020. 16,622 or 9.6% said their disability impacted “a lot” on daily activities. 1/5th of them reported having difficulties accessing public transport. Many of them rely on vehicles through the mobility car scheme or “BLUE BADGE” or rely on buses to go to appointments, shop and live their lives. Hackney Council decided to “clamp down” on Blue Badge holders by failing to immediately give universal exemption to them.

The council knows who they are because the council have records of all Blue Badges issued by the council.

The council has chosen to discriminate against them,to make their lives more difficult through this ableist policy.

The council has a duty of care in law to protect the disabled. LTNs do not help the elderly or disabled (discriminates against them) Why does the council make the disabled suffer to make already “able bodied” walk and cycle a bit more, this is an ableist policy.

As a life long Labour supporter and voter I am shocked that the council discriminates in this way. The Council’s Equality Assessments were woefully inadequate and were excused by the Judge as being done in an “emergency” Well ETOs are over and yet you are still carrying on making them permanent with still no proper in depth EQ assessments.

17,000 people signed this petition so far just to get it discussed (for five minutes). It’s taken over 2 years to get here.

In the online consultations 58% of people in the London Fields LTN said they were against it being made permanent, 64% in Hoxton were against, 64% were against in Homerton… but the Council has continued anyway. The Council is not even addressing the issues created by LTNs.

We appeal to you to give immediate universal exemption to all Blue Badge Holders (not just companies) and to STOP using the party whip to squash debate. We appeal to all council member to listen to us! Stop obstructing debate, take our evidence seriously and take ACTION to ease the pain you are inflicting on our desabled to our elderly to our children and our honest hackney residents who deserve our consideratoin and care.”