Liberal Democrats support the principle of cutting traffic levels for a safer, healthier, and greener borough. Only 30% of Islington residents own a car, yet too many are exposed to illegal levels of pollution from congested main roads.
We want to see all residents get the benefit of quieter, well-managed roads, and improved air quality across the borough. And as part of that, we support the goal of rolling out Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) across Islington.
But under Labour, what could have been a positive policy has divided communities, with some of the most vulnerable residents paying the price. Those who live outside the LTNs face increased congestion and pollution on their doorsteps every day.
We recognise that for a minority of Islington residents, using a car will always be necessary. Liberal Democrats have made Labour listen on exemptions for Blue Badge holders: now we need that option for carers too. And we need a practical solution for local traders and businesses who must use a vehicle to deliver their services.
Most of all we need to engage local people in designing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods that work. Labour’s failure to listen has seen them impose LTNs first and consult later. That means practical solutions from the people who know the area best are too often ignored. We believe in a listening Council that does things with you, not to you.
We will work to set up Citizens Assemblies so that the community can decide together how LTNs can work better for us all, not for just a lucky few. Citizens Assemblies have been used successfully across the world, bringing together experts and communities, to solve problems at the local level.
In Islington, we would draw together a representative cross-section of the local community, including people who live inside the LTN and those who live on boundary roads, so that the decisions made are informed by the real experts – the people who live in the area and are affected on a day-to-day basis. All decisions will be made based on detailed, accurate data.
We will also work with Liberal Democrats across London to lobby the Mayor of London to introduce smart road user charging, using existing ANPR technology, so that heavy traffic passing through our borough pays for the cost on our environment.
The money raised can help mend our potholed streets, improve local public transport, and be invested in measures like green walls to better protect main road residents, including those in social housing, from pollution.