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Meeting Details

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
7 Jan 2021 - 19:00 to 21:00
Scheduled
  • Documents
  • Attendance
  • Declarations of Interests
  • Visitors

Documents

Agenda

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Standard Items
1 VIRTUAL MEETING - LINK TO VIEW

This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location following regulations made under Section 78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. This meeting can be viewed by following this link:

LINK HERE

 

2 Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To note any apologies for absence and substitutions.

 

1

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Burke due to a disclosable pecuniary interest.

 

3 Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members.

2

Councillor Bell disclosed that he was a member of the board of Transport for London, however he recused himself whenever Transport for London (TfL) hold discussions or made decisions on funding for local councils to prevent any conflict of interest arising.

 

Councillors D. Crawford, Driscoll, Dabrowska, Rooney, Shaw and Woodroofe all disclosed that they lived in or close to a low traffic neighbourhood (LTN). However, they felt that this did not constitute a disclosable pecuniary interest as it would have no impact on the value of their properties. Therefore, they would remain in the meeting and participate in the debate and vote when considering this item.

 

4 Urgent Matters
To consider any urgent matters that the Chair has agreed should be considered at the meeting.

3

There were no urgent matters.

 

5 Matters to be Considered in Private

To determine whether items contain information that is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.


4

Resolved: That all items be taken in public as proposed.

 

6 Minutes

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 3 December 2020.

 

5

Resolved: That, subject to the amendment of Laura O’Driscoll to Lorna O’Driscoll, the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2020 are agreed as a correct record of the meeting.

 

6

Councillors Stafford and Steed spoke on behalf of the six councillors that had called this Cabinet decision in. Councillors Stafford and Steed explained that:

 

  • The introduction of LTNs was not a proportionate response to the objective of increasing active travel.

  • A proportionate response to the options outlined in the cabinet report would have been to remove the LTNs due to the overwhelming opposition and negative feedback from residents. Cabinet had not given sufficient recognition to this opposition.

  • For example, there had been a significant increase in traffic congestion and air pollution at the junction of Uxbridge Road and Boston Road; this had been ignored at the Cabinet meeting.

  • Cabinet had not been given a comprehensive view of the high response from the public through official and unofficial means and of the real concerns that had been raised about LTNs.

  • Hounslow, one of the neighbouring boroughs, had not been officially consulted until September 2020, when most of the LTNs had already been introduced.

  • The London Ambulance Service had also not been consulted properly at the beginning of the process.

  • The Fire Brigade had requested that bollards be removed, and they had not been. Some emergency vehicles could not get through diagonal blockades.

  • Blue badge holders had a special need to travel without restriction, however with the proposed amendments of the LTNs, they were not allowed to do so except within the LTN that they resided. Blue Badge holders should be allowed to access all LTNs in the borough.

  • While it was acknowledged that local authorities had on-going budget problems that had been increased by COVID, it was usual to hold consultations before traffic changes. Residents had not been consulted on the Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs) and this had given rise to complaints about how the decisions had been made.

  • There was confusion over signage, accessibility for cycles and enforcement. What would these changes do to the data being collected? Some social media posts reflected the views that some residents had been fined unfairly, while other residents felt there had not been enough enforcement.

  • The Hounslow Transport Plan affected Ealing residents, likewise, the Ealing LTNs affected Hounslow residents. What proposals were there for joint meetings between Hounslow and Ealing officers, members and residents to consider changes, such as these agreed by Cabinet, in a joined-up manner?

 

Councillor J Anand, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Action, responded to the call in. Councillor Anand explained that she supported the the call-in process however she felt the recommendations that had been presented in the report had reflected the views that the public had expressed and the main issues that had been identified in the initial trial of the LTNs. The call-in process had meant officers had not been able to advance with the LTN trials or make the changes proposed. 

 

Councillor J Anand made the following points in response to the issues raised by the call-in:

 

  • The report had addressed the public’s concerns on pollution and congestion as  there had been consultation, including with focus groups, therefore she did not accept that there had been a lack of transparency. Open channels of communication had included the Commonplace platform, which sat alongside other ways that residents could get in touch.

  • With respect to the exemption for Blue Badge holders, the Council was looking at possibly limiting it to one vehicle, however they were prepared to take into account individual circumstances of blue badge holders.

  • With respect to accessibility for emergency vehicles, bollards had been removed and cameras introduced within a short space of time, there was now an improved monitoring regime, including for diagonal barriers. There were also channels of communication between the Council and the local fire service. The report had recommended that all barriers be replaced by ANPR Cameras, which would address access issues by emergency services for the LTN areas.

  • Traffic and air quality were being monitored and the experimental traffic orders would be maintained while data was gathered to inform the decision on whether to retain the LTNs permanently at the end of the ETO period.

 

Councillor Millican, Ward Councillor for one of the affected wards, made contributions as follows:

 

  • There had been overwhelming opposition to the LTNs scheme since they had been introduced in August 2020. According to statistics within the report, 76% of respondents were opposed and 24% were in favour. Earlier in the report, it had been acknowledged that there was some support for the scheme as well as some opposition.

  • He had attended a meeting in Hounslow, along with Councillor Bell. Hounslow was consulting on making changes to Swyncombe Avenue, which straddled the two boroughs.

  • The LTN barriers divided a community in two. Residents had repeatedly complained that the LTNs were solving a problem that did not exist.

  • No baseline data had been provided of the impact on air quality and no Equalities Analysis Assessment had been undertaken before the decision had been taken.

  • There was no presumption in favour of fairness as the public’s views had not been taken into account.

 

Councillor J Anand responded that some of the complaints were from the same standpoint as Cabinet in that they were motivated by concerns about climate change, the need to make walking and cycling more attractive, and reducing air pollution. However LTNs had been used in other parts of London and had made roads quieter and safer. It would take a while to collect and collate data as that required third party input and that could not be done while a lock-down was in force.

 

The Committee asked the following questions:

 

  • How would the council provide a fair analysis of the LTNs during the lock-down? What was the methodology for doing this analysis during lock-down?

  • What was the procedure for removing bollards? Did it require Cabinet approval?

  • There had been reports on social media of the emergency services not being able to get through some of the barriers. How would this be resolved?

  • What was Cabinet’s view of the recommendation made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee before Christmas that no new LTNs should be introduced while the current ones were being evaluated?

  • Issues with signage at the entry to LTNs had been reported, including confusing signs stating ‘open to cyclists’. There was a potential that these signs could lead to motorists entering LTNs and being issued with fines from ANPR cameras. How would the Council ensure the signage was clear for motorists?

 

In response to the questions asked, Councillor Bell, Leader of the Council and Policy Overview, Regeneration and Transport Portfolio, confirmed that:

 

  • By early February 2021, all bollards will be replaced by planters and that the preparations for this change were continuing, notwithstanding the outcome of the call-in. This would solve the various issues relating to bollards and planters including vandalism, access for emergency services and signage.

  • Cabinet had not dismissed the idea of no new LTNs. However, it was important to keep options open. For example, in East Acton where residents had been campaigning for a LTN, it would be unfair on these residents if Cabinet committed to no more LTNs until the final assessment could take place of the existing ones.

  • Cabinet acknowledged that there had been some problems in collecting data, for example, around Swyncombe Avenue. It was anticipated that the easing of the lock-down restrictions will leave enough time, before the new 6 months are up, to collect data, however it was acknowledged that this posed a challenge. Although there was SCOOT data included in the interim assessment, there will be more data at the final report stage. At the moment there was partial data to weigh against consultation responses.

  • Councillor Anand and himself had formally written to Hounslow Borough to request data. However, it was possible that the congestion experienced on streets bordering or cutting across Hounslow, e.g. Popes Lane, had been due to other causes such as a new school and road works.

 

Tony Singh, Head of Highways, confirmed that signage complied with the requirements made by the Department for Transport. However, safety audits were undertaken regularly and if issues with signage were identified these would be addressed.

 

Councillors J Anand and Bell left the room while the Committee debated the proposals and took the decision.

 

The Committee debated the proposals. It was clear that the LTNs had been unpopular with those who had responded to the consultations, however it was unclear as to how widespread the unpopularity of LTNs were with residents across the borough. It was also recognised that LTNs had to be introduced in a matter of weeks to fit with funding deadlines and due to this it could be considered that the introduction of the LTNs had been rushed. There needed to be more visible co-ordination with neighbouring boroughs as the LTNs sometimes affected them too. It wasn’t clear how the LTNs could be evaluated as the data would be based on periods of lockdown where traffic levels would be different to when life returned to normal. On balance, it was felt that the changes to the schemes agreed by Cabinet were sensible and to send the decision back to Cabinet would delay their introduction by a further 6-8 weeks. However, the Committee remained concerned that although the Council was consulting on the schemes, it was not clear how much weight could be placed on the results of consultation compared to other considerations, when taking future decisions on LTNs.

 

Resolved: That

 

  1. The decision be upheld.

  2. Cabinet be recommended to ensure there is a clear framework for decision making, with appropriate weight given to residents’ feedback, when future decisions are taken on LTNs.

 

8 Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 4 February 2021.

 


7

The next meeting was due to take place on Thursday 4 February 2021.

 

Additional Meeting Documents

Attendance

Name
No other member attendance information has been recorded for the meeting.
NameReason for Sending ApologySubstituted By
Councillor Linda Burke  
NameReason for AbsenceSubstituted By
No absentee information has been recorded for the meeting.

Declarations of Interests

Member NameItem Ref.DetailsNature of DeclarationAction
No declarations of interest have been entered for this meeting.

Visitors

Visitor Information is not yet available for this meeting