Progress on making London’s streets healthy too slow

Transport campaigners have claimed that progress on making London’s streets healthy and safe are far too slow to meet the Mayor of London’s own targets.

The 2020 London Boroughs Healthy Streets Scorecard reflects the health of boroughs’ streets up to March 2020, before boroughs started to put in place emergency measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It finds that London’s boroughs, TfL and Mayor Sadiq Khan have been ‘far too slow’ in making London’s streets healthy and safe.

Transport campaigners from seven organisations have formed a coalition to track council progress on the ‘Healthy Streets’ indicators year-on-year. They say the pace of change shown in the year preceding lockdown was far too slow to tackle the coming climate crisis, to enable a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic, to tackle inactivity levels that are crippling NHS budgets and to achieve the Mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ on road danger.

The changes from 2019 to 2020 Scorecard data, show: only one per cent increase in share of journeys made by ‘sustainable mode of transport’; there was no discernable overall change in the number of people walking or cycling regularly; and there were only 268 fewer cars in London compared to the target of 250,000 fewer by 2041.

The results also highlight huge disparities on borough action and outcomes even comparing only inner (or outer) London boroughs to each other. For example, in Inner London, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington have done well to introduce 20mph speed limits and Controlled Parking Zones and to a lesser extent Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, Cycle Track and traffic-free streets around schools. In Outer London, accolades go to Waltham Forest and Haringey which score highest, while Havering, Redbridge, Bexley, Bromley and Hillingdon languish at the bottom of the whole table with little or no action or improvement.

Simon Munk, of London Cycling Campaign, said: “We want every borough to do much more. Indeed every borough will need to do much more to meet the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and help us avert the worst of the climate crisis, though some council bosses have shown strong leadership and willingness to make changes, for instance in Waltham Forest where they are controlling parking, cutting off rat-runs, limiting speeds to 20mph and putting in protected cycle lane.”

The new Healthy Streets Scorecard helps boroughs compare how well they are doing in relation to other boroughs and identify areas for future action. It will also help Londoners find out how healthy their streets are and show how to join them in calling for change.