There was only one council where anti-LTN candidates were successful. Image: Jack Fifield/flickr
Candidates running against divisive Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have fallen flat in the local elections, with just a handful managing to pick up seats.
Turning out mostly under independent and Conservative banners, in London and across England, candidates running on promises to get rid of or rule out LTNs have largely failed to pick up council seats.
Shooting to prominence during the pandemic, LTNs are schemes aimed to reduce traffic and improve local areas for pedestrians and cyclists by partially closing roads.
Ahead of this week’s local elections, a number of candidates attempted to capitalise on the strength of feeling by using opposition to LTNs as their main campaign platform. But Big Issue analysis of election results announced so far shows these candidates have failed to make inroads.
In Enfield, north London, the local Conservative party ran on an anti-LTN platform and picked up eight seats. Despite this, a number of heavily anti-LTN candidates in the borough failed to win seats.
Of a list of over 30 anti-LTN candidates across England, compiled by The Big Issue, Enfield was the only area where gains were made.
Thomas Gray, a Conservative candidate in Lambeth who listed removing the “unfair LTN” as one of his key priorities, failed to win a seat.
LTNs are seen as a vital measure to reduce air pollution and urban traffic and create nicer areas for people to live and travel in. They are welcomed by most, but have also been the subject of fierce debate and waves of protests.
Critics say they simply push traffic elsewhere, and often that they are created without consultation. There are also largely unfounded arguments that they impact on poorer communities and affect local business footfall.
The majority of anti-LTN candidates compiled by The Big Issue stood for opposition parties – hoping to unseat incumbent councillors – and so perhaps faced an uphill battle. But nearly all made their antipathy to LTNs their core pledge, and so their fortunes at the ballot box can be seen as an indication of how the issue is treated by voters.
While LTNs are most prominent in London, they were also turned into a battleground elsewhere in England.