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18 January 2021updated 25 Jul 2021 11:49am

Exclusive: Londoners support low-traffic neighbourhoods and Greater London boundary charge

New London polling reveals enthusiasm for car reduction measures such as LTNs and Transport for London’s planned toll on driving into the capital.

By Anoosh Chakelian

More Londoners support than oppose car reduction measures, according to new polling for the New Statesman.

When asked about low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) – closures of some residential roads to motor traffic introduced by many London boroughs last year – 44 per cent of respondents support the schemes compared with 21 per cent who oppose the schemes (27 per cent neither support nor oppose, and 9 per cent don’t know), according to exclusive polling by Redfield and Wilton Strategies.

The polling of Londoners was conducted on 13-14 January, the same week as Transport for London’s proposals to introduce a £3.50 daily “boundary charge” for vehicles registered outside the capital to enter Greater London were reported by the Evening Standard – an idea first proposed last December by London mayor Sadiq Khan as a measure to ease TfL’s funding crisis.

Forty-one per cent of those surveyed support this idea, compared with 32 per cent who oppose it (20 per cent neither support nor oppose, and 6 per cent don’t know).

Traffic reduction measures became a point of particular controversy in the capital last year, as councils introduced LTNs without the need for consultation. Many championed the schemes, noticing an improvement in their quality of life, while others in the same communities felt they were unequally distributed, or were forcing more vehicles onto busier roads.

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[See also: Low-traffic neighbourhoods: How the culture wars came to a street near you]

Yet the polling shows that 69 per cent of Londoners surveyed associate LTNs with the word “environment”, while less than half that proportion – at 31 per cent – associate the schemes with the word “gentrification”.

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Nevertheless, when asked to consider the effect of LTNs on adjacent areas that are not LTNs, more Londoners say that there are a higher number of cars in adjacent areas than previously – with 34 per cent saying surrounding areas have higher traffic than before, and just 18 per cent saying there are lower numbers of cars (17 per cent think there are a similar number of cars, and 31 per cent don’t know).