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Low-traffic schemes overlook Disabled people’s needs

28 April 2021

Councils do not consider the needs of Disabled people when implementing low-traffic neighbourhoods according to Disabled residents who say the schemes increase journey times and leave Disabled people no alternative but to use cars.

In a report in The Times newspaper, the mother of a child with incontinence said the increased journey times led to him arriving at school wet, distressed and confused. The local Council, Islington,  is refusing to allow the school bus to make a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act and drive through blocks in residential roads. It says that a global ban on allowing any vehicles except emergency vehicles through camera-controlled filters makes “the environment feel much safer, and make it much more likely that local people will begin to travel more by active means”.

Edward Cripwell, of Disability Action in Islington, told The Times the charity had been “inundated with complaints by disabled people throughout the borough… People say they have been locked down and locked in by the low-traffic neighbourhoods. Nobody who has contacted the council has had a meaningful response, no hint that disabled peoples’ views are being considered and that anything will change.” He said that the council did not undertake a “comprehensive equality impact assessment, they did not consult with us formally, they presented us with this scheme as a fait accompli. It does not seem that the rights of disabled people have been taken into account as they should be, as disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.”

Disabled residents in the London boroughs of Ealing, Lewisham, Waltham Forest and Greenwich have also reported concerns.

Svetlana Kotova, Director of Campaigns and Justice at Inclusion London said: “We are highly disappointed, but unsurprised, by the approach of London boroughs and the hurried development of LTNs… the lack of consultation and engagement by many London councils with disabled people and other non-disabled residents to co-produce solutions has resulted in schemes that do not work for everyone.”