Former transport minister slams LTNs

The former Transport Minister and London Mayoral Candidate Steve Norris has joined in the criticism of low traffic neighbourhoods, saying they are based on a flawed idea, punish the poorest and do the opposite of what they are supposed to do.

Following publication of research in the Telegraph and elsewhere saying air quality improved in Wandsworth after the LTN there was removed, Norris who is now a leading transport adviser and consultant as well as President of ITS (UK), told Highways News the concept won’t work without reasonable travel alternatives.

“It’s very straightforward,” Norris said. “The Left in politics has always been fascinated by frustration theory.  It assumes that car ownership is a middle class phenomenon and thus immoral.  It works on the basis that if you make it hugely inconvenient for people to travel by car, a large contingent will cycle or walk. Sadly, [London Mayor] Sadiq Khan is clearly much wedded to this.  He has frustrated traffic in London often without any other conceivable motive other than frustration of road traffic.

“The reality is of course that frustration theory demonstrably doesn’t work. All you get are frustrated and angry motorists producing more pollution and quite needlessly costing people and businesses time and money.  Wandsworth to their credit recognised this early and withdrew the worst offenders. They also recognised that introducing LTNs with no prior consultation was a big mistake.   We want more people to cycle and walk when they can.  But converting lifelong habits needs more than frustration to deliver real change. It’s significant that after initially releasing emergency funds to pay for road layout changes Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has voiced scepticism about their effectiveness”.

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