Report Finds No Link Between LTNs and Fire Engine Response Times

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Ambulance stuck in traffic in Chiswick. Picture: Facebook


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Low traffic neighbourhoods did not have any measurable effect on London Fire Brigade response times last year, according to new data.

In its annual report on incident response times, published on the London Data Store, the London Fire Brigade revealed that it had not yet noticed any impact on attendance times as a result of low traffic neighbourhoods being put in place.

But the report did note that roads were quieter than usual in 2020 due to lockdown restrictions, which could have contributed to the improved response times compared to 2019.

The report said, “In 2020 a number of LTNs were introduced across London as temporary measures to create more space for walking and cycling, allowing people to travel more safely during the Covid pandemic.

“During the pandemic we have had more resources that are immediately available to respond, and roads (during lockdown periods) have been quieter. That being the case, we haven’t yet noticed any impact on our attendance times due to the LTN schemes established in 2020; however, we will continue to monitor their impact at a local level.

“The attendance times to boroughs in inner London, where the majority of the LTNs seem to be, still remain quicker than those in outer London.”

In 2020, the London-wide average response time for the first fire engine to arrive at an incident was five minutes and one second, almost one minute less than the target response time of six minutes.

Although low traffic neighbourhoods have existed in the capital since the 1970s, they have become an increasingly divisive issue among Londoners since more were introduced in spring last year.

There has been vocal opposition to the schemes, which are implemented by local councils, and the issue has become a key one in the upcoming GLA elections.

At the launch of his re-election campaign earlier this month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was forced to wait inside a coffee shop for an hour after being confronted by residents protesting a low traffic neighbourhood imposed by Enfield council.

Meanwhile Mr Khan’s Conservative opponent Shaun Bailey this week promised to “rip up” unwanted LTNs “within 100 days of consultation” if elected mayor on 6 May.

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

March 31, 2021