London councils have issued 1.1million fines – worth up to £100million – to motorists who drove through low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) over the past three years.
The multi-million pound schemes, which were put in place by the government to encourage a long term move towards more cycling and walking, have been branded as council ‘cash cows’.
The widely hated schemes have been accused of making little impact on pollution and simply moving congestion and CO2 emissions to other areas.
More than 300 car-free schemes have been installed in the last two years or are in the pipeline across the UK, many of which were set up by councils during the pandemic without consultation.
These pop-up cycle lanes and wider pavements are enforced using warning signs, large wooden planters and CCTV cameras.
There has been much criticism of LTNs since they were introduced, particularly as they have made congestion worse and at times have delayed emergency service vehicles.
Others have long warned that in closing off some roads to through-traffic to try to reduce pollution on residential streets, LTNs force more vehicles onto already busy main roads.
Following the first lockdown in March 2020, 189 LTNs had been installed in 105 local authorities but since then 52 (28%) have been removed while in London 30% of LTNs have been scrapped after negative public feedback.