News

No progress in Barnet on creating ‘healthy streets’, report finds

Borough lacking 20mph zones, low-traffic neighbourhoods and ‘school streets’
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Lots of new low-traffic neighbourhoods have been installed around London, except in Barnet (credit TfL)
Lots of new low-traffic neighbourhoods have been installed around London, except in Barnet (credit TfL)

A lack of 20mph zones and protected cycle tracks is holding up Barnet Council’s progress on boosting walking and cycling, according to a report.

Barnet was ranked 25th out of London’s 33 local authority areas for the third year running in the latest ‘healthy streets scorecard’ report, which is drawn up by a coalition of transport, health, road safety and environmental groups.

Published this week, it reveals Barnet has the lowest proportion of council-run roads covered by 20mph zones in London, at just 4.9% of the total. In both Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea boroughs, the figure is 100%.

In addition, it shows that only 0.7% of Barnet’s roads are covered by protected cycle tracks – the third-lowest proportion in London.

There have been no new low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) created in Barnet since last year, with only 13% of the borough covered by historic LTNs as a proportion of the total area deemed suitable for such schemes.

And despite the roll-out of a new ‘school street’, only 7% of schools in the borough have traffic-free schemes operating in nearby roads, the report adds.

The coalition says it is “encouraging to see a 1.6% decline in the number of cars registered in the borough”. But with 92 cars registered per 100 households in Barnet, it adds that there is “still some way to go to reduce reliance on private motor vehicles”. The London average is 73 cars per 100 households.


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After taking control of Barnet Council in May this year following 20 years of Conservative rule, the Labour group immediately declared a climate emergency and pledged to speed up plans to cut carbon emissions.

Alan Schneiderman, chair of the environment and climate change committee, said: “Our new Labour administration has pledged to put sustainability at the heart of what the council does, and since May we have already declared a climate emergency, appointed a lead councillor and lead officer for sustainability, started work on setting up our citizens’ assembly on climate change and biodiversity, and joined the London anti-idling campaign.

“We are committed to making our streets safer, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists and to enable parents and children to get to school safely.”

Cllr Schneiderman said that while there were no plans to “impose” LTNs, the council wanted to introduce more 20mph zones where residents want them, particularly around schools; encourage car clubs and car sharing; provide better cycle storage; and improve the A1000 cycle route.

He added: “Above all, we want to work with residents, which we will be doing through our citizens’ assembly that will start in the autumn, to help us come up with local solutions to local problems, to tackle air pollution and climate change and get us to healthier streets.”


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