QUESTION: Where do you stand on Low Emission Neighbourhoods and is it possible to satisfy both camps?
Labour candidate – Sadiq Khan
“Bad air quality is an issue of social justice and it affects people from deprived or ethnic minority communities most.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are council schemes and it is measures such as these which have contributed toward a 94% reduction in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in my first term.
I will not apologise for supporting an initiative designed to help stop Londoners breathing illegal levels of pollution because of traffic congestion, especially when polling consistently indicates that Londoners overwhelmingly support them..”
NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th Sadiq Khan did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.
Conservative party candidate – Shaun Bailey
“We need to tackle London’s air pollution problem and LTN’s will form a part of that strategy.
There are areas in London where they clean up air without causing traffic jams. What Sadiq Khan has done is slapped LTN’s down without any local consultation and its causing chaos.
We saw him get chased into that coffee shop by local residents, people are angry.
I’ll pause the rollout of LTNs until we have properly consulted with local communities and if they don’t want an LTN we won’t force it on them.
That’s how you satisfy both camps, by listening to them.”
Liberal Democrat party candidate – Luisa Porritt
“Liberal Democrats have long called for improved cycling and walking routes in London.
Clearly, the lesson learnt from the last year is you have to consult and bring communities along with you.
Lots of Londoners do want safer routes and quieter streets.
The challenge for the next Mayor is to show leadership and bring people together to find the best solution for each community.”
Green Party candidate – Sian Berry
“As Green Mayor I have a clear plan to keep London moving and to make sure everyone has clean air to breathe.
I have set a target to reduce traffic, and make it easier to get around by walking and cycling, and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods play a large part in this.
We have seen some schemes brought in during this emergency period that have generated opposition, and we must learn lessons, and plan future schemes alongside the local communities who know their streets and how best to make this work. And we must not ignore main roads, where most traffic and pollution goes already, and where many people live.
For five years I have pushed the current Mayor to make plans for smarter, fairer road charging that would genuinely help to cut congestion but he hasn’t listened yet.
We need a real Green Mayor who will not only do this but bring down public transport fares for those who pay the most in outer London, so that everyone has better options to get around.”
UKIP Party candidate – Peter Gammons
“I oppose them.
They are dividing communities and generally taking traffic from the high-end streets and diverting it onto poorer ones and often past schools.
They are undemocratic and discriminatory.
They make journeys longer for most people including those living in the closed streets, therefore increasing congestion and pollution.”
London Real Party candidate – Brian Rose
“Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have been a shambles.
They’ve been immensely divisive, caused access problems for less able people and emergency services as well as other residents, and shifted pollution rather than reducing it. And, crucially, they’ve been imposed with no meaningful consultation. I will immediately review every single one.
LTNs are a symptom of a failed transport policy – they’re the proof that we have failed to deliver a public transport system to many Londoners that’s a realistic alternative to their cars. Which means LTNs are simply a revenue raiser, not a solution to pollution.
I have a new plan for funding TfL, a plan that welcomes London cabs back as an integral part of our transport network – there is no better door-to-door solution. And I’ll help them to adopt new, cleaner technology, making London a leader in green transport.
We have a long way to go – we really need to get started.”
The Reclaim Party candidate – Laurence Fox
“After more than a year of lockdown, we urgently need to help get Londoners moving.
I will scrap Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, underused cycle lanes and other restrictions that have divided our communities, blocked our streets, increased pollution, delayed emergency services, destroyed black cabs businesses, and seen millions of new fines imposed on Londoners.
I will encourage more electric vehicles with more street-side charging points.”
Women’s Equality Party candidate – Mandu Reid
“Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can work if they are co-designed with local communities and disabled people’s organisations.
The hasty roll-out of this scheme from government meant that hardly any consultation was done, and now we are seeing the effects of that.
We need to make sure both the risks and benefits are shared equally, and that goes for all policies.
Decisions about the future of these schemes must be based on comprehensive impact assessments that evaluate the benefits and costs for all affected groups and weigh these against the objectives of these schemes.”
Let London Live Party candidate – Piers Corbyn
“I would IMMEDIATELY HALT the (Ultra Low) Emission Zone extension to N & S Circulars which will ruin many businesses and INCREASE pollution making longer journeys avoiding the zone.
I would also review (with a view to intelligent science-based change) the existing (Ultra) Low Emission zone and “Low Emission Neighbourhoods” for similar reasons including effects on business and family life.
This would be in the context of a new special proper science-based TASK FORCE AGAINST ALL POLLUTION – air, noise, increased Electromagnetic radiation, plastic etc which would involve community based groups (eg Let Walworth Live; Let Peckham Live etc) and a MASSIVE TREE PLANTING PROGRAMME.”
Burning Pink Party candidate – Valerie Brown
“The greatest threats to our children are climate change and destruction of the environment (ecocide). These caused the Covid pandemic. We have already used up all the fossil fuels we can burn safely.
What values are most dear to us, how do we live? Citizens’ Assemblies will find a way forward everyone can sign up to.”
Rejoin EU party candidate – Richard Hewison
“Our problems with the environment are on a global rather than a local level, and London needs to re-engage with the world to solve climate change.
Having said that, micro-initiatives to make London a more tolerable place to live and ensure no more children have “air pollution” on their death certificates must be a priority.”
Social Democrat Party candidate – Steven Kelleher
“The electric car is with us and it is growing. This will do more for London’s air than any number of unused cycle lanes.
We will add 10,000 charging points across London for electric vehicles and consult honestly before imposing more LTNs and cycle lanes are imposed on people who need to get themselves to work and their small children to school.”
Independent – Farah London
“I stand against the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) that were introduced during the lockdowns.
They have caused mass disruption across London, instead of reducing emissions the LTNs have increased emissions, as drivers are spending more time in their cars stuck in traffic with longer journey times.
In addition, it has alienated the elderly and disabled residents. The emergency services also are experiencing delays and no access.
There requires proper consultation and a more structured plan, as the current plan has proven a disaster, supporting affluent residents, whilst making those living in social housing areas suffer with the increased fumes.”
Renew Party candidate – Kam Balayev
“On day one, I will set up a special taskforce that will revise all LTNs that cause problems with their respective neighbourhoods.
The Mayor must work with and listen to the local communities to be truly effective.
I recognise that the time has come for us to realise that clean air is a human right and all the state entities should do everything possible in order to tackle pollution.”
Animal Welfare Party candidate – Vanessa Hudson
“When it comes to tackling our dreadful air quality and the climate and biodiversity crises, we are all in this together and huge changes in our lives are going to follow.
LEN’s have been set up with good intentions but something in the communication process has gone awry.
We have to find ways of all groups feeling listened to and involved so we can navigate a path where all, ultimately, feel satisfied. I’m all ears.”
Nims Obunge, independent
“We will Champion a new green London and promoting a drive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This also means ensuring all new builds are eco friendly and that we plant 3000 trees.
Local Police intervention will act when families and communities fail to appropriately intervene.”
NOTE: That in the printed version of the Southwark News on Thursday April 29th Nims Obunge did not provide any answers to our questions in time so we based his responses on his manifesto.
On Thursday May 6 you will be voting for the next Mayor of London and an assembly member to represent you at a local level.
This election, which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic, has seen more mayoral candidates than ever before. Twenty have stood, including the current Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Voters will be given a pink ballot paper on May 6 with the option of selecting two of their preferred candidates.
Different to General Elections, the London Mayor election uses a proportional representation voting system called the supplementary vote. This involves putting an X in column A for your first choice and an X in column B for your second.
This does not reduce the chances of your first choice being successful, but rather ensures all votes matter as they are counted.
We posed the same five questions on housing, crime, environment, transport and the economy, to ensure that you can see in a balanced way where each candidate stands on these key issues.
Here are the answers on: