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Communications

We write to Ealing’s Labour Cabinet Members, Councillors, MPs and Assembly Member on Ealing Council’s Proposal to Remove Seven More LTNs

We at Better Ealing Streets believe and campaign for continually safer streets, the end of the dominance of the motor vehicle and for the end of so many short journeys made by car in Ealing.

We strongly believe that LTNs work, achieving many of their objectives and their removal is wrong.

If you do the wrong thing and choose to remove more, it will fly in the face of your own limited published empirical evidence and data that the LTNs work:

  • They reduce car journeys
  • They increase walking, cycling and scooting
  • They reduce congestion on many other roads
  • They do not increase bus journey times
  • They do not increase pollution

If you do the wrong thing, it will fly in the face of your own climate change policies

  • Glossy adverts and videos promoting climate change emergency will be seen for what they are, just hollow green washing backed by no material action
  • The existent Climate Change Emergency is not waiting for the next election!

If you do the wrong thing, it flies in the face of your own health policies

  • LTNs enable active travel with all the associated physical and mental benefits
  • Fewer car journeys reduces harmful pollution and road danger

If you do the wrong thing, it flies in the face of your policies on safer streets

  • LTNs provide 54 km of safe active travel routes
  • LTNs prohibit dangerous rat running
  • LTNs enable and encourage kids and their parents to safely walk and cycle to school

If you do the wrong thing, it flies in the face of the Equalities Act

  • You have not done an equalities assessment on the LTNs’ removal
  • How can the removal of the filter at Culmington Road not have a large negative impact on the daily safety of thousands of children and their family members?
  • How can the removal of 54 km of active travel routes not have a negative impact on the most vulnerable members of society?

If you do the wrong thing, you are putting at severe risk, £48m of active travel funding over five years.

  • The government and TFL have said they will not provide future funding to councils who have unreasonably removed active travel infrastructure

If you do the wrong thing, based upon the disgraced consultation process, which your own independent report criticises, how can the decision be considered logical or legally robust?

  • In the Interim Report the council promised proper professional demographically representative consultation process but went back on its promise.
  • The government requires 12 months of verifiable published data upon which such a decision is to be made.

    Where is this 12 months of verifiable published data upon which you are making this decision?

If you do the wrong thing, what is next as far as active travel in Ealing?

  • The removal of 54 km of active travel schemes and replacement with 1.6 km of cycle way is not the way forward
  • The removal of 54 km of active travel schemes and the introduction of school streets is not to be an acceptable political fig leaf
  • And how are you going to fund it?

If you do the wrong thing, how can Ealing Labour be considered to be a progressive party looking after the interests of the most vulnerable members of society – those children and families that do not own cars for example

  • If Labour is not a progressive party it has no fundamental values

If you do the wrong thing, and listen to your truth twisted by knaves and liars your decision will not be forgotten by the electorate, government, TFL or by history

  • It will be seen as cowardly
  • It will be seen as retrograde
  • All polling shows that active travel measures are popular

Those opposing LTNs have provided no constructive alternative to them – they are only campaigning for the right to drive anywhere on short journeys for their own perceived convenience with no consideration for others around them.

If you do the wrong thing, and there is an incident that would have been prevented by the LTNs, how will you deal with your consciences?

If you do the wrong thing, it will be heart-breaking to the members of Better Ealing Streets and the many of the most venerable members of society who have now witnessed what benefits that LTNs bring and for which there is frankly little or no alternative.


We at Better Ealing Streets urge our council:

  • To force your collective hearts and nerves and sinews to serve your turn long after your opponents are gone, to be brave, do the right thing and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them “Hold On”
  • Make the decision to retain the LTNs for the entire length of the temporary traffic orders
  • Collect and publish the data relating to pollution, bus travel times, scoot data into the future including the end of furlough.

    This is including giving the necessary instructions, manpower and financial resources to do so
  • Change the whole communications of the council to be about reducing car journeys and what we all need to do to tackle climate change
  • Market and professionally engage with the public, selling the undoubted virtues of the LTNs and that we as a society have to do more than this to reduce car usage not less

DO THE RIGHT THING

DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU BELIEVE IN

BE PRINCIPLED POLITICIANS

MAKE THE DECISION TO RETAIN THE LTNs

Better Ealing Streets

Categories
Communications

Better Ealing Streets Writes to Labour Councillors Ahead of the Council’s Cabinet Meeting

Dear Ealing Labour Councillors

We at Better Ealing Streets are a large group of Ealing residents that are passionate to see safer and better streets in Ealing; streets no longer dominated by motor vehicles thus enabling more people to walk, cycle and scoot rather than drive for many journeys – this is desperately needed in this time of climate emergency.

We are aghast at the prospect that at the forthcoming cabinet meeting Ealing Borough Labour Party could be going backwards on its active travel and climate change policies and approve the removal of many of the LTNs.

We urge you not to let this happen. We have written to Deirdre Costigan Peter Mason and Josh Blacker in a similar vein and this open letter / email sets out our concerns but also, and more importantly, our passion as residents to work with and champion the London Borough of Ealing, if, but only if, the council does the right thing by its people, both present and future generations to come, this being expand and encourage active travel, not dismantle infrastructure that the council’s own data shows is proven to work.

  • Our aims are aligned with your party’s stated policies but to be frank the only actions we see so far, from Mr Mason as leader, is the dismantling of active travel schemes. Surely Ealing Labour Party is not going to approve the dismantling of more? Consequently, we do not and cannot support any more active travel measures being removed; we are steadfast in our opposition to their removal.

    Statistics prove that they work in making our streets safer, and hence encouraging active travel and thus helping with climate change and other major societal problems such as bad health due to inactivity etc…

    We support them being modified in situ (and the reinstallation of parts of what was the West Ealing South LTN) whilst a plan is drawn to make alterations and rebrand them. The communications mess that the Council is in started when the LTNs were installed, but we feel Mr Mason has compounded the problems since he became leader, rather than solved them.

    He referred to there being a CPZ style vote and used a Survey Monkey exercise rather than a professional consultation process. We told him not to do it and the consequences if he did; we have been proven correct.

    Using the car less and addressing the climate emergency should be the central messages for communications from the council.
  • Some believe that there is clear case for a judicial review if the LTNs are removed. Their removal cannot be considered in any way to help the disadvantaged in society.

    Others too are very concerned about the loss of funding from Central Government that would ensue, making any active travel improvements to the borough financially unviable in the future. This would be a disastrous position to arrive at. Ealing’s and Labour’s reputation as a London Borough and a party that promotes healthy lives and is tackling the Climate Emergency would be in tatters.

    We cannot see how your stated objectives can be achieved without increased rather than decreased active travel infrastructure.

    The removal of LTNs will not only embolden anti-active travel groups in Ealing but throughout London as a whole and Ealing will be seen as a pariah (akin to RBKC).

    We welcome school streets and the benefits of order outside the schools they bring, but evidence suggests they do not have a great impact on increasing cycling / active travel; they do not provide safe corridors of travel as LTNs do. They cannot and should not be used as a fig leaf to hide the real damage that would be caused by the LTNs’ removal.
  • It is very important to keep all the LTNs but we want to particularly emphasise the importance of retaining the modal filter on Culmington Road between Lammas and Walpole Parks. This we believe is the most central and significant of all. As well as being a long-standing cycle route (LCN 68), It makes it immeasurably safer for children’s accessing recreation in the parks, Will To Win sports activities, council events as well as accessing Ealing Broadway schools and shops from Northfields and vice versa.

    The difference that this barrier has made to children’s safety, their quality of life and their ability to walk and cycle is absolutely clear. 

    We think it is essential we flag this up now as a major safeguarding concern, which needs a full risk assessment carried out before any modifications are made. 
  • Finally, we are keen to promote through the available channels what this administration has achieved, not to be criticising poor decisions such as removing LTNs which are proven to work.

    We see a great advantage in working together promoting with the LB of Ealing the existent Climate Emergency and the need to change our habits.

    We do not want to be fighting you in the courts (that is not constructive) but we will if you do what is palpably the wrong thing.

    Instead, we want to be in a position to champion the London Borough of Ealing, holding it as a beacon for other authorities to emulate.

    There simply is not the time to wait! Action on transport and climate change must happen now. It cannot wait months and certainly not years.

    Defending people’s rights to drive polluting cars on short city journeys where and when they like is not going to put you on the right side of history. Being brave and making the right decisions for your people and retaining the LTNs and going further with active travel schemes will be both popular in the polls and put you all on the right side of history.

Please ensure that your views are reflected in the forthcoming cabinet meeting.

Yours Sincerely

Better Ealing Streets

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Better Ealing Streets’ Complaint to the BBC

We have serious concerns about a broadcast from the BBC Science and Environment Unit on 17 March 2021.

Environment correspondent Justin Rowlatt’s report was often factually incorrect, incendiary, and we believe broke BBC guidelines on impartiality.

BBC Editorial Guidelines state, “Where our content highlights issues on which others campaign, we must take care not to endorse those campaigns, or to allow ourselves to be used to campaign to change public policy.” 

The inflammatory tone of the piece blatantly broke these guidelines.

The report also broadcast falsehoods and failed in the BBC’s remit to inform and educate. 

Mr Rowlatt did not explain what LTNs are or what they are designed to achieve. He used none of the readily available facts on traffic volume or air pollution. He presented anti-LTN opinions as fact. Worst of all, he failed to fact check a claim that taxis would not drop women to their doors at night. A quick series of calls to local cab firms would have told him that all Ealing’s taxi cab services drop passengers to their door.

The incendiary nature of the piece was shocking. It was clearly designed to inflame fears about women walking alone at night. It was heavily weighted in favour of anti-LTN views, and did not give the pro-LTN argument sufficient air time. Mr Rowlatt happily claimed that the scheme was a cash cow for councils without any context. He broadcast instances of law breaking and road rage without question. Dangerous illegal behaviour was also described on social media by Mr Rowlatt as “brilliant.”

The BBC Science and Environment Unit has jumped into this issue without adequate research. Worse still, they have used a high profile broadcast to encourage dangerous illegal behaviour.

We believe the BBC should issue a correction and a full apology for the false information and the distress caused by this piece.

www.betterealingstreets.org.uk

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Interim LTN Report Released

Ealing Council’s interim assessment of the LTN trials has been released. Important stuff, good to see ANPR access for blue badge holders is being recommended.

Read the full report here.