21 November 2021

Hundreds of residents march through north London suburb to ‘win back’ their streets

Hundreds of people took to the streets in north London to protest against the imposition of road closures and traffic controls.

More than a thousand residents and business owners gathered in Palmers Green to highlight the impact of the LTN (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods).

Protesters in Palmers Green, north London on Saturday

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The group behind the march, One Community Against Fox Lane LTN, have already threatened to mount a legal challenge if the scheme is made permanent, claiming a lack of consultation and transparency on the part of Enfield Council.

Their aim is to ‘reopen our neighbourhood and get traffic moving again’.

LTNs involve closing residential streets to through-traffic in a bid to ‘cut rat-running, boost air quality, and encourage more people to walk and cycle’.

But they have stirred up considerable opposition, with some residents complaining of longer journey times, increased pollution on surrounding roads and possible delays to the emergency services.

Displaced cars clog up roads outside the LTN zone

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Spokesperson for the One Community group, Aggie Minas, said: “Hundreds of locals impacted by this ill-thought-out scheme came out to march in solidarity.

“Talking to people on the route, I heard stories about children being late for school due to buses being stuck in displaced traffic, carers not being able to reach their patients, disabled people having to take difficult more circuitous routes, ambulance delays and high street businesses struggling financially due to clients not being able to reach them in time.

“Will the council listen? Where is the equity in this scheme, where are the benefits?”

Many speakers at the event pointed the finger of blame at local councillor Ian Barnes, the council’s deputy leader and chairman of the authority’s climate change task force.

He has previously defended the schemes, saying. “The main beneficiaries of LTNs are all residents of the borough, but in particular our children and young people.

“We have to change our thinking and see that our future must lie in cleaner air and a stable climate. It is a challenge for all of us – but one we must meet head-on for the sake of future generations.”

But this cuts little ice with campaigner Damian Tiernan who was delighted with the show of support from the local community at Saturday’s event: “Barnes is already saying 284 people on this march makes no difference, but if everyone votes against this council in May, it will remove these clowns.

“If he had an ounce of decency he would remove these LTNs and resign.”

Saturday’s march passed without incident, as it snaked its way through the town’s main shopping street.

And in stark contrast to the recent provocative actions by Insulate Britain, where activists and motorists clashed, the air was full of tooting car horns in support of the marchers.

And nobody glued their hands to the road...

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