LTNs, cycle lanes and road safety: Boroughs scored on 'health' of streets

Camden's work to encourage active travel has been praised by a coalition of environmental groups

Camden's work to encourage active travel has been praised by a coalition of environmental groups - Credit: Healthy Streets Scorecard / Camden Cyclists

The annual Healthy Streets Scorecard produced by environmental groups has praised Camden's efforts to encourage people away from their cars, but called for neighbours Barnet and Haringey to step up their efforts.

Camden features among the highest scoring boroughs, and is ranked third in London. And while Westminster is not far behind in fourth. 

Haringey (13th) and Barnet (25th) have both been told that there's considerable room for improvement. 

North London neighbour Islington topped the list.

The Healthy Streets Scorecard ranks environmental progress across London

A cartogram highlighting which London boroughs had been most successful in implementing environmental and road safety measures - Credit: Healthy Streets Scorecard

The ranking is produced by a coalition of environmental groups and campaigns including London Living Streets, CPRE London, Sustrans in London, RoadPeace, the London Cycling Campaign, Future Transport London, Possible and Wheels for Wellbeing. 

They looked at indicators including how much progress boroughs are making when it comes to encouraging people to take sustainable modes of transport, how dangerous it is to be a pedestrian or cyclist on each borough's roads, and how much progress they are making introducing low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).


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The group also published a new map of all the LTNs in London. 

How did the boroughs do?

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According to the scorecard, Camden deserves credit.

The coalition said in a statement: "The measures Camden has taken to improve the health of its streets are among the most impressive in London, though there’s still a way to go." 

The group added: “Lower than London average casualty rates for pedestrians and cyclists is also positive news."

A pop-up cycle lane in Goods Way. Picture: Camden Cyclists

One of Camden's pop-up cycle lanes behind King's Cross - Credit: Archant

Haringey has dropped in the rankings, partly because it is one of only four boroughs where the proportion of people choosing active travel – walking or taking public transport – has fallen over the past two years. 

The coalition added: "Haringey has promised much over the last few years on active travel but there has been little sign of delivery and that is increasingly showing in its results."

They continued: "A new council leader and cabinet lead may well get the council’s gears moving. We certainly hope it will."

Further down the list, Barnet was criticised for its lack of any low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) at all, and for having "virtually no segregated cycle track".

The groups praised work done with schools and the introduction of school streets though, saying: "A relatively high proportion of trips are still made by car, rather than by ‘sustainable’ modes of transport and the proportion of adults who regularly walk or cycle is low."

Westminster scores highly, and the coalition said this was largely due to progress made introducing 20mph speed limits throughout the borough.

But the coalition added: "Successes were not universal. Pedestrian and cyclist casualties in Westminster are higher than the London average." 

It also said Westminster Council's "timidity" over LTNs should change, and called for it to act to match progress in the neighbouring City of London.

The response

A Barnet Council spokesperson said it is committed to "ensuring the borough’s transport network contributes to the health and prosperity of Barnet".

They cited "a great deal of work already under way or completed, and the borough's "ambitious" 20-year transport strategy. 

They added: "This includes giving residents a choice of active, sustainable and efficient modes of transport. Encouraging shifts in modes of transport such as walking and cycling through new infrastructure and behavioural change, initiatives around healthier routes to school, and work to continually improve road safety and air quality." 

The council introduced 3km of cycle lanes in Finchley and Golders Green in 2020, it said, and claimed to have spent £40m on pavement and road improvements since 2014.

Cllr Adam Harrison praised the flexibility of the council's rubbish collection contract. Picture: Camden Council

Camden environment chief Cllr Adam Harrison welcomed the borough's ranking - Credit: Archant

In Camden, environment chief Cllr Adam Harrison welcomed the high ranking which he said was "a direct reflection of our wide ranging work for safer and healthier streets".

He added: “The pandemic has brought home the importance of protecting the environment to keep us all healthier and safer, and as a result, we introduced a broad emergency programme to enable people to choose healthier forms of travel and further delivering the vision of Camden’s transport strategy."

Haringey's new deputy leader and environment chief, Cllr Mike Hakata, said: "Our new administration is on a mission to make this a walking, cycling and bussing borough with schemes prioritising areas of need. 

Thursday 27th May 2021. Haringey Council AGM. Photo: David Mirzoeff

Haringey deputy leader Cllr Mike Hakata - Credit: David Mirzoeff

"We have already implemented 11 school streets, with many more to follow, and have undertaken a trailblazing engagement and co-design exercise for three large low traffic neighbourhoods."

He said work on existing cycle lanes would play a part in helping the borough hit its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2041.

Highgate's Cllr Liz Morris (Lib Dem) said the ranking should be "the much-needed shot in the arm for the council to get their house in order, and incentivise more and more residents to walk, cycle and use public transport".

Westminster Council was contacted for comment.

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