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We respond to Liveable Streets schemes consultation

Road scene of Whitechapel looking towards the City

We, alongside our NHS partners in Tower Hamlets, wrote to Mayor Rahman in response to the Liveable Streets schemes consultation. Our letter was written on behalf of the communities of Tower Hamlets and representing the thousands of NHS colleagues who live, work and study in the borough.

The CEO of the Royal London Hospital wrote to the then Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2020 recognising the progress being made in making the borough a healthier place to live and asking the borough to implement the latest DfT and TfL guidance on liveable street measures in response to a significant rise in the number of NHS colleagues walking and cycling to work and in response to worsening air quality indicators as traffic levels returned to above pre-covid levels. 

The Tower Hamlets “Liveable Streets” programme was welcomed by NHS partners. The quick introduction of pilot schemes that became permanent along with an overarching strategy to roll out across 17 neighbourhoods that would cover 60% of the borough demonstrated a significant commitment to implementing policy that would deliver tangible public health, environmental and social benefits. 

The implemented schemes were consulted on extensively and have only been fully in place since 2021. We note the increasing evidence base that recognises “liveable neighbourhood” measures have a range of different and interconnected impacts, however the evidence suggests that these are largely positive, and it is in the medium to longer term where most of the benefits become apparent. 

The most recent Healthy Streets Scorecard highlights once again Tower Hamlets has the lowest car ownership rates of any London borough. 71% of households in the borough don’t have a car and most trips are made by walking, cycling and public transport. Yet those living, working or studying in Tower Hamlets are exposed to the fifth worst air quality of any London borough regularly exceeding WHO safety limits. This disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society and acts to widen existing health inequalities in the borough. 

We are concerned by the proposals to reverse elements of the Bethnal Green, Bow, Wapping, and Brick Lane schemes. To provide an informed view, we would request data and information regarding statements made in the consultation to be published and consider it important to compare with data from more established schemes in Waltham Forest and Hackney for example. Without sufficient time or data, our view is that it is a challenge to undertake a further consultation where insufficient information is available to provide an informed view. It is important for us to understand how these proposals align with our agreed North-East London ICS Green Plan and that it pays sufficient regard to the London Plan and national policy. 

Our organisations have both declared climate emergencies and share many common objectives. Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport while reducing through traffic in neighbourhoods are now recognised as necessary measures in our response to both climate change and health inequalities. We call on Tower Hamlets to maintain its commitment to enabling more sustainable journeys, improving air quality and road safety.

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  1. Claire Davis Friday, 5 August 2022 at 05:23 PM

    Thank you for taking this important stand in support of the health of the people who live and work in Tower Hamlets, many of whom are our patients, our workforce and their families.

  2. Miss Byrne Friday, 5 August 2022 at 06:46 PM

    I find it extremely contradicting
    “ Tower Hamlets has the lowest car ownership rates of any London borough. 71% of households in the borough don’t have a car and most trips are made by walking, cycling and public transport.” which is then followed by “ Yet those living, working or studying in Tower Hamlets are exposed to the fifth worst air quality of any London borough regularly exceeding WHO safety limits.” Now I would assume that it’s likely public transports that is making a large portion of this poor air quality. How on earth does a tower hamlets have one of the highest pollution levels when 71% of residents do not own or have use of a vehicle. Extremely confusing. Also this letter from the CEO of the royal London hospital seems to have made it clear that the restrictions that are currently in place benefit his trusts employees and students. Which a large majority of those I am sure do not even live in tower hamlets. A large majority of people whom work, travel to work via public transport of cycling. However, as a resident of tower hamlets who is not able to use public transport or cycle due to disability’s I 100% rely on my vehicle for living. The restrictions in place have caused major upset with residents. I would also like to see the evidence that has been presented to the trust to suggest that a large majority of tower hamlets residents was or are in favour to keep the road restrictions. Because I am extremely confident that it is a minority that wish to keep such restrictions in place. I feel a FOI application on issues raised in this letter would help me understand why the CEO of royal London come to the conclusions written. Has the CEO actually compared data against the emergency services that have clearly recorded and noted that restrictions in place have caused delays in attending emergency call outs ? I feel one of the members of LS has managed to ask for a favour from such said CEO. However I along with other residents that this will be shared with and our legal teams, can look further into this. It’s great that a CEO can take time out to write such a letter when our NHS is virtually on collapse due to not coping with everything. Clearly CEO has plenty of time.

  3. George A Rix Saturday, 6 August 2022 at 04:01 AM

    LTNs especially are dividing communities and causing more pollution by forcing longer journeys and squashing traffic into bottlenecks. I no longer visit my friends in Hackney by motorcycle it is just too easy to make a mistake and be forced to pay extortionate fines, so I rarely meet my social circle now. Good riddance to this loony leftist tyranny in Tower Hamlets.

  4. Lilian P Saturday, 6 August 2022 at 08:47 AM

    I almost died in February when the rapid response car was delayed by 8mins in an LTN outside my house. It’s still happening today. I spent two weeks in your respiratory ward. Do you not care about those in the boundary roads that are now suffering whilst the rich white middle classes live in quiet roads. Ltns engineer traffic jams deliberately.

  5. Anwar Miah Monday, 8 August 2022 at 12:01 PM

    Closing one road you are more pollution other roads how is that reducing pollution.

  6. Heidi White Monday, 8 August 2022 at 03:01 PM

    Thank you for taking this stand to help ensure our new Liveable Streets are not torn up! I'm particularly alarmed by the proposals to rip up the lovely new walkable streets I've been enjoying in Bethnal Green.

  7. Mohammed Ahmed Monday, 15 August 2022 at 12:52 PM

    I look forward to the Liveable Street scheme come to an end.
    It has caused many great difficulty. Even serious inconvenience for emergency services
    https://www.mylondon.news/news/east-london-news/tower-hamlets-low-traffic-neighbourhood-20995617
    Barts claims to have 'thousands' of staff living and working here. I do wonder how Barts arrived at the point that they can represent the 'thousands'.
    What evidence is there to demonstrate that they consulted the staff in order to represent the workforce?
    Majority of the locals want to see the end of the scheme. Perhaps Barts should consult all staff living and working in the borough before representing them.
    If health of Tower Hamlets residents is a concern for Barts, perhaps Barts can also represent the residents on other matters such as drugs, violence and poverty too?