'Disability groups must be heard on LTNs'

General view of a Disabled entrance door button.

General view of a Disabled entrance door button. - Credit: PA

Writing in the Ham&High on November 18, Haringey council leader Peray Ahmet asserts that low traffic neighbourhood schemes are "making our streets safer and healthier" as well as contributing to the struggle against climate change.

The council’s Walking and Cycling Action Plan is "prioritising pedestrians". Cllr Ahmet says not a word about those who are unable to travel independently by foot or cycle, or even those with autism and severe learning disabilities, unable to use public transport.

Councillors should have attended last week’s meeting between council officers and disabled people, many in tears at the discriminatory policy about to be imposed on them. These voices won’t be heard because the meeting was not recorded or minuted and it will disappear into the ether like the rest of the views expressed in the hopelessly inadequate consultation. This is a poor show from a council which says it listens.

Mary Langan. Picture: Luke Dixon

Mary Langan says the LTN expansion proposals are discriminatory - Credit: Luke Patrick Dixon Photography

Our members experiences of LTNs has been overwhelmingly negative. Many schemes were introduced at the height of the pandemic with no consultation. Most disability groups and blue badge holders have not been consulted on proposals to extend LTNS and no action has been taken on concerns already expressed.

Disabled blue badge holders are now getting "parking control notice" penalty tickets driving along familiar roads in restricted zones as they try to get to shops, medical appointments or visit family. The appeals process is a bureaucratic and stressful experience on top of the day to day difficulties disabled people face.

The recent publication Pave The Way, produced by Transport For All, reported on a survey of more than 80 people with a range of disabilities about their experiences of low traffic neighbourhoods in London. This survey revealed that 77% of those interviewed took a negative view of the schemes, reporting longer journey times, that were "exhausting, expensive and difficult". Many also complained about the inadequate consultation and their perception that they had not been "listened to". They also reported a loss of freedom and increased loneliness.

Good news: the Pedal Power Cycling Club in Finsbury Park is back, every Tuesday 11-2pm and alternate Saturdays, 12-4pm.

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Mary Langan is chair of Haringey Severe and Complex Needs Family Support Group