The introduction of low-traffic areas without prior consultation was a mistake, says Labor London politician

Leonie Cooper AM said at a conference on reducing carbon emissions that big changes mean taking people with you

London’s new low-traffic neighborhood programs should not have been launched without prior local consultation, a Labor member of the London assembly said.

Speech in front of the Think Tank Center for London’s Countdown to Net Zero Online conference yesterday Leonie Cooper (pictured), AM for Wandsworth & Merton and also a Labor Councilor at Wandsworth, said of the widespread and rapid adoption of LTNs “People were absolutely upset”to block through traffic in residential areas.

“In the context of the pandemic and the lack of consultation, people found it just too much,” Cooper said. “Taking people with you is critical when you make a very big change. The deliberations have now started again and that is really important. You won’t take people with you if you say tomorrow morning that we’re transforming London into Amsterdam. “

In Coopers Conservative-run district – a Labor target in next year’s district election – new LTNs became REMOVED after just a month of heavy local criticism. “I have great empathy for the people who were really upset about LTNs,” said Cooper. “I think the policy makers were to blame because people deserve advice about a change outside of their own homes, in their own streets, and in their own communities. We have to do that and then you take the people with you. ”

The all-day event focused on progress in realizing Sadiq Khan’s ambitious goal of net zero carbon emissions in the capital by 2030. In a session on Rethinking Londons Transport for 2030, speakers agreed that a broader approach was needed, including improving public transport, tackling freight and delivery vehicles – which make up 20 percent of road traffic but 25 percent are responsible for CO2 emissions – “micromobility” and help Londoners switch to electric vehicles.

“People are getting on their moral high horse, but we need a more subtle, nuanced approach with a better understanding of what’s going on on the ground,” said Isabel Dedring, Global Transport Leader at Arup and previously Deputy Mayor of Transport under London Boris Johnson. “We have to use the entire toolbox. It’s not the real world to believe that anyone can get on a bike in Outer Barnet. “

More charging points for electric cars are urgently needed, said Jamie Heywood, Ubers Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe. The company, which plans to run all 45,000 vehicles in the UK on electricity by 2025, is subsidizing its drivers to change cars and has pledged £ 5million to the London boroughs to install charging stations.

But while London now has 30 percent of the country’s charging points and the government is investing £ 1.8 billion in charging infrastructure, the total bill for a comprehensive network is estimated at up to £ 20 billion, Heywood added. Amsterdam is the role model, he said, with electric cars now accounting for a quarter of all new cars sold, compared to one in ten in the UK, and a legal right for drivers to have charging points near their home.

Cooper warned, “We have to face the challenge in London,” stressing that London is a larger and more complex city than Amsterdam. they called for more powers from City Hall to ensure the capital’s 32 boroughs, which account for 95 percent of London’s streets, are on board, and praised the Strategies on sustainability.

She also called for investments in public transport and at the same time “getting people back on buses”. “The whole thing has to move away from private vehicles,” she said. “We have to share a lot more about it, just like we share public transport.”

Additional road tolls, a policy supported by all speakers at the meeting, would be considered by City Hall, Cooper added. Dedring said Mayor Khan’s second term was the “perfect time” to introduce the policy.

The wide-ranging conference also included sessions on building sustainable housing and neighborhoods and creating green jobs, with an emphasis on combining the post-pandemic economic recovery with the move to net zero emissions.

Center for London’s Countdown to Net Zero conference can be viewed in full here.

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