Closed petition Carry out an independent review into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)

The review should look at, but not be limited to, possible benefits and disbenefits they might have to the local and wider area where they are introduced. This should including pollution, road safety, mental wellbeing, effects on the vulnerable, and congestion. Both inside and outside an LTN.

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Many residents that live on the boundaries of these LTNs experience increased congestion, road traffic accidents, pollution, damage to their mental wellbeing, and feel like they are not being listened to or consulted.

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Government responded

This response was given on 25 April 2023

The Government is already carrying out an evaluation of active travel schemes funded in 2020/21, including LTNs. It has no plans to commission a further review until this has concluded.

Responsibility for traffic management on local roads rests with the relevant local authority as they are best placed to consider how local needs can be effectively met. It is entirely a matter for individual authorities to decide on the nature and scope of policies. The Government, through the Department for Transport, is responsible for setting legislation and for providing guidance to local traffic authorities but has limited direct influence over locally managed roads. Ultimately, Ministers will make decisions relating to matters of Departmental policy.

To help local authorities make safe provision for pedestrians and cyclists during COVID-19 and to mitigate the lack of capacity on public transport due to social distancing, the Department launched the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). This funding was designed to help local authorities create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling, allowing people to get around whilst maintaining social distance while also aiding longer term increases in walking and cycling along with the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits. Some local authorities decided to implement temporary LTNs as part of this programme. Many of these were made permanent as part of later funding rounds, where authorities considered that the schemes were working effectively. A number were also removed.

The Government has been clear that traffic management schemes should always be developed through consultation and engagement with local communities. As a condition of receiving funding provided by Active Travel England (ATE), all local authorities are required to undertake consultation, and monitoring and evaluation work, to ensure that schemes meet the needs of the local area and the people that live there. ATE is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport.

In order to better understand the impact of this funding, the Department has appointed contractors to undertake a review of schemes funded through the second tranche of active travel funding, including a deep dive into the impact of segregated cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods. This is being delivered through a call-off contract let in February 2021 after a fair and open competition run in line with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Until this work is completed, the Government has no plans to commission a further review.

The results of the review will be published in due course. Once research has been conducted, policy decisions will ultimately be for Ministers to take.

Department for Transport

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/632748)

Original Government response

The Department has appointed the University of Westminster to undertake an independent evaluation of active travel schemes funded in 2020/21, including low-traffic neighbourhoods.

Responsibility for traffic management on local roads rests with the relevant local authority as they are best placed to consider how local needs can be effectively met. It is entirely a matter for individual authorities to decide on the nature and scope of policies. The Department is responsible for setting legislation and for providing guidance to local traffic authorities but has limited direct influence over locally managed roads.

To help local authorities make safe provision for pedestrians and cyclists during COVID-19 and to mitigate the lack of capacity on public transport due to social distancing, the Department launched the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF). This funding was designed to help local authorities create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling, allowing people to get around whilst maintaining social distance while also aiding longer term increases in walking and cycling along with the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits. Some local authorities decided to implement temporary LTNs as part of this programme. Many of these were made permanent as part of later funding rounds, where authorities considered that the schemes were working effectively. A number were also removed.

In order to better understand the impact of this funding, the Department has appointed the University of Westminster to undertake an independent evaluation of schemes funded through the second tranche of active travel funding, including a deep dive into the impact of segregated cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods. The results will be published in due course.

The Department has been clear that traffic management schemes should always be developed through consultation and engagement with local communities. As a condition of receiving funding provided by Active Travel England ATE), all local authorities are required to undertake consultation, and monitoring and evaluation work, to ensure that schemes meet the needs of the local area and the people that live there. ATE is an Executive Agency of the Department, based in York. It was launched in August 2022 and is working with local authorities to develop and deliver new high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure schemes.

Department for Transport

This response was given on 7 March 2023. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.