On 16 December a coroner made legal history by ruling for the first time that air pollution was the cause of the death of a nine-year old girl in Lewisham. Reducing air pollution in our city isn’t a luxury; it’s a life-or-death issue for thousands of Londoners.
The LTNs and other changes to Wandsworth’s roads were a huge opportunity to do this. Instead, Wandsworth Council utterly botched it. With no consultation, haphazardly designed road schemes were imposed almost overnight on residents.
Thousands of residents got in touch with us to ask what was going on. Businesses struggled to plan their deliveries without any information from the Council. Cyclists and pedestrians sometimes faced more risks instead of fewer.
But when we raised these issues at the Council meeting on 16 December, the Conservatives didn’t try to fix them – instead they praised themselves for giving up. It’s rare that we get any funding from central government for schemes like these and it’s clear that this was entirely wasted.
We deserve a better approach
This leaves us right back at square one. We still urgently need to reduce traffic and pollution in the borough, and we know that encouraging active travel is an essential component of this. The Tories’ failed scheme and their refusal to listen to residents instead fostered hostility and confusion. We need to genuinely engage with local residents and businesses – that’s where the solutions live!
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made incredible progress reducing dangerous pollution, with the number of schools in illegally polluted areas reduced by 97%, but we have to do more.
That’s why we’re calling on Wandsworth Council to:
- Work with communities to deliver safer, healthier streets.
- Support the Mayor’s Vision Zero strategy to end road death.
- Learn from boroughs where LTNs have been successful to develop more appropriate plans for Wandsworth.
- Enable active travel across our borough.