I am sad to say that every week I hear another story of distress and inconvenience for people with disabilities and their families resulting from Haringey’s three new Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes.

One of our members had to be dropped off by her usual minicab in an strange location nearly a quarter of a mile from home. Another has had to apply for individual exemptions on a dozen occasions over the past three months to take her disabled son to various appointments at hospitals and GP surgeries.

LTNs are popular with the hale and hearty, who enjoy walking and cycling and streets free from motor traffic. But it is a different story for the elderly and the disabled who depend on cars for access to vital services – or just to maintain social contacts or see visitors.

Ham & High: Mary Langan has been hearing stories from people with disabilities struggling with LTNsMary Langan has been hearing stories from people with disabilities struggling with LTNs (Image: Mary Langan)

A recent survey by the Department for Transport’s Inclusive Transport Strategy confirms that people with disabilities rely on taxis and minicabs and other vehicles to a much greater extent than other residents. Families caring for individuals with autism and learning disabilities experience particular difficulties in using public transport, from issues of buying tickets to hostility from other passengers. This research also reported the limited availability of blue badge parking spaces and a lack of awareness of concessionary travel cards.

Haringey Council introduced LTNs with limited public consultation and little consideration for people with disabilities who are most likely to be adversely affected. In response to a mounting wave of protests, it is belatedly coming around to listening to our concerns and considering a range of exemptions.

The problem with the measures proposed is not only that disabled people – including those with learning disabilities – are required to have internet access and computer skills. They are also required to explain in detail why they need exemptions, to justify their particular requirements, their frequency and duration – and to repeat these applications at regular intervals.

These requirements are so extensive and intrusive that they amount to discrimination. Instead of forcing people with disabilities to conform to this inflexible bureaucracy, we need a system that is adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.

Mary Langan is chair of Haringey Severe and Complex Needs Families Reference Group.