Local traffic changes 'more divisive than Brexit'

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were introduced to tackle increasing traffic on minor roads, but now they are dividing communities. They use street furniture such as planters to block roads in residential areas. It lowers traffic, but can make it harder for drivers to get around. One in 20 Londoners now live in one and they are being rolled out across the country to dozens of towns and cities. Justin Rowlatt reports.

Video Transcript

- This is all for the cyclists and all for the middle classes and the crackpots. Yeah, look at this.

RUPA HUG: No.

- So where does it say no entry? Where does it say that?

RUPA HUG: Yeah, if you take targeted air strikes on Syria, Brexit, coronavirus, of all of those, I would say low traffic neighborhoods has been the most divisive issue that has inflamed like no other.

JUSTIN ROWLATT: So there are a couple of signs to mark the barrier, but the center is open. Drive through it, and you'll be issued with a 130 pound fine, 65 quid if you pay within two weeks. Now, within weeks of opening these low traffic neighborhoods, they had issued almost 6,000 fines and raised almost half a million quid.

TAHLEE JOHNSON: My taxi driver has dropped me off here, because he can't get through to my house anymore.

- It's absolute nonsense about saving people's lives and air quality.

TAHLEE JOHNSON: Single women who need to get around and go places are no longer able to get directly to their house of residence.

MARK ECCLESTON: The street that I'm on had over a million cars passing my front door in a year. It meant that I couldn't sleep properly.

LORNA O'DRISCOLL: You're pushing what was your problem, and you're pushing it with everyone else's road onto very, very few roads.

MARK ECCLESTON: This is allowing people to have fresher, cleaner air and choices about how they get from A to B.

LORNA O'DRISCOLL: There are four schools on the main roads that are now chugging down a massive amount of pollution.

MARK ECCLESTON: But your plan is to rip them all out and then we just want have the status quo.

LORNA O'DRISCOLL: Consultation is a really fair way to do things.

MARK ECCLESTON: I agree.

LORNA O'DRISCOLL: And there has been no consultation for these ones that have been implemented.

CHRIS BOARDMAN: 20 billion more miles being driven around homes now than they were just 10 years ago, and if we consulted on that, there would have been a much bigger uproar than there is for low traffic neighborhoods.