Ealing hit by huge fire department delays due to controversial low traffic areas

Emergency firefighters are being delayed by traffic zones and speed bumps – and in Ealing delays have nearly doubled in a year.

The number of interventions delayed by traffic zones rose from 59 to 106 between 2020 and 2021, according to statistics published by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

This comes after nine controversial Low Traffic (LTN) neighborhoods were introduced to the West London borough in the second half of 2020. These figures also relate to slowdown delays.

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The goal of the LTNs was to improve air quality and reduce congestion during the pandemic at a time when more commuters were expected to be driving in response to social distancing requirements.

However, a year later, in 2021, seven of the LTNs were scrapped in Ealing following widespread protests from residents and council analysis which showed that the LTNs had in fact increased congestion in many areas. other streets.

Protesters descend on Ealing Council Town Hall over the LTN scheme in 2021

Although traffic calming includes speed bumps, there is a marked increase in the number of delayed LFB calls following the introduction of low traffic districts.

Between 2019 and 2020, before the introduction of LTNs, there was an increase of only 11%, from 53 calls to 59 respectively, compared to an increase of 83% between 2020 and 2021.

An LFB spokesperson said: “The brigade supports proposals to promote active travel and we work closely with our local authority partners and are consulted when there are proposals for road closures.

“If we are concerned that changes will affect our response times, we will raise them and work with the local authority to find the best solution.

“While the data provided includes some regarding the impact of low traffic neighborhood schemes, it also includes all types of other traffic calming measures like speed bumps, so it is not accurate. to suggest that all delays are due to LTN programs.

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The Conservative Leader of the Opposition to Ealing Council Councilor Gregory Stafford said: ‘These figures provide further evidence of the dangerous unintended but predictable results of LTNs in Ealing. The lives of the inhabitants could have been at stake.

“Conservative Councilors have always supported local residents in their campaign to remove these ill-thought-out and counterproductive traffic barriers.”

Leader of Ealing’s Liberal Democrat councilor Gary Malcolm said: ‘The Liberal Democrats said LTNs don’t work.

“They’re blocking some emergency vehicles and causing more pollution by forcing traffic to divert.

‘The Liberal Democrats were happy that many LTNs had been scrapped, but they showed Labor needed to talk to residents before any schemes were implemented.’

Ealing Council has been approached for comment.

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