OneLambeth LTN Legal Challenge
In May 2020, Lambeth Council began closing residential roads to create “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods” (LTNs) without consulting residents. LTNs now divide communities throughout the borough, discriminate against the elderly and disabled, hamper emergency services, increase congestion, damage businesses and heap pollution on schools and residents near main roads.
OneLambeth rejects the council’s justification for LTNs and considers them undemocratic, discriminatory, harmful and hazardous. Please
support our urgent campaign to hold Lambeth Council to account in court on the 9th-10 June 2021.
OneLambeth Legal Challenge represents residents from across the borough who oppose these undemocratic, unhealthy and discriminatory LTNs. Together we have launched a legal action against Lambeth Council, in which one person will stand for us all. Read more about the legal challenge, the fundraiser, and OneLambeth below.
This legal challenge is being brought on behalf of Miss Sofia Sheikh who lives on the edge of the Railton LTN. A covid survivor with a debilitating lung condition, Sofia’s access to hospital and the ability of carers and London ambulance service to reach her have been severely impacted by the introduction of LTNs. [Photo credit: Geoff Pugh]
As a member of a “protected group” Sofia's needs should have been considered. They were not. Cycling is not an option for Sofia, and all her journeys are adversely affected by LTNs. Sophia is supported by residents in a number of other LTNs (Oval, Ferndale, Tulse Hill and Streatham Hill) who have provided witness statements.
Why a fundraiser?
Legal challenges are expensive, and the council has shockingly deep pockets when it comes to defending their crazy schemes. Unlike some pro-LTN lobbies, we are entirely volunteer-powered, and are not funded by external or statutory bodies.
We have already been granted permission to proceed to by Judge Justice Tim Kerr, meaning there is a case to answer in court. Sofia’s challenge is cost-capped (if she loses, the maximum we pay towards the Council's costs is £5000), however our lawyers still need to be paid for their work.
>>UPDATE: We have a court date. The case will be heard on the 9th & 10th June 2021<<
We have raised £18,000 so far (including private donations) but have already incurred over £16,000 in costs, with more costs due imminently. You can see what it gets spent on below. We’re just about keeping our heads above water thanks to our understanding legal team, but the need for funds is now urgent.
Please help us raise £35,000 on GoFundMe to allow the case to proceed and take Lambeth Council to court for their unlawful actions.
Who is OneLambeth?
OneLambeth is an apolitical group of residents challenging 'low traffic neighbourhoods' (LTNs) in Lambeth. We came together to share our deep concerns over the way LTNs have been implemented in our Borough, particularly the undemocratic way they were imposed and the lack of meaningful consultation with those most affected by them, the apparent conflicts of interest, damage to businesses and traders, and their impact on families and schools on main roads.
OneLambeth is a grassroots campaign, run by, with and for residents who believe that LTNs are the wrong solution to the wrong questions and that LTNs should not remain Lambeth's Tortured Neighbourhoods.
What will happen to my donation?
All donations go directly to frontline costs of the campaign: Court filings, legal advice, solicitors and a barrister. We are fortunate to have engaged a great legal team who are representing us at a reduced rate.Our campaign is entirely run by volunteers, none of whom receive compensation of any kind. As the campaign grows and the case proceeds, we urgently need additional funding to make sure we can see this through. With your help, we can win - for Sofia and for all.
What has been paid out so far?
1. Legal advice from solicitor and barrister
2. Submission of pre-action letter to Lambeth Council
3. Advise on Lambeth Council's reply to the letter
4. Preparation of legal grounds and application to court
5. Response to Lambeth Council's defence submissions
6. Preparation and submission of witness statements to the court
7. Preparation of court documents and for 'Proceeding Hearing' 12th
8. Preparation of further witness statement from DASL (www.disabilitylambeth.org.uk)
Please see our FAQ at the bottom of this page if you have any questions or doubts.
What Happens Next?
We'll be sharing email progress updates via this crowdfunding database (if you sign up) and keeping active on social media so you can keep in the loop. We would love to see our donors getting engaged with our work, and always welcome more people coming forward to join our network.
1. Stay informed or get involved:
Join our Facebook Group
2. Sign our petition:
Immediate Removal and Cessation of Lambeth’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes
3. Register your objection on the Council's Commonplace page:
4. Please sign this Open Letter
Open letter to Lambeth Councillors
Why is this appeal "on behalf of Charles Jenkins"? Who is he?
Charles acts as treasurer to pay the legal fees from money raised here.
Isn’t this just a temporary measure to cope with the pandemic?
Lambeth Council have used emergency Covid-19 powers to introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) throughout the borough. They claim LTNs “enable physical distancing” during the Covid-19 pandemic and “enable a sustainable transport recovery”. The reality is very different, and LTNs are far from temporary measures. In fact on 17th March 2021 the council announced its intention to extend Ferndale LTN.
We find it inexcusable that Lambeth Council used a deadly pandemic as a pretext to force these changes upon residents without any consultation. They had already been planning LTNs for some time, and covid-19 was just a cynical ploy to justify the unjustifiable. Even their strongest defenders have given up pretending LTNs were anything to do with the pandemic - it was just a convenient way to circumvent democracy, impose an unpopular measure without challenge, and grab a bit of extra government funding.
Aren’t LTNs supposed to healthy?
This isn’t just an emergency of democracy, it’s a health emergency. Vehicles in congested traffic produce up to 80% more emissions per mile than those in free-flowing traffic. And, as if generating more health-damaging pollutants were not bad enough, LTNs actually focus this on fewer roads, displacing traffic to already congested residential main roads where poorer and marginalised people tend to live.
Lambeth is actively creating discriminatory health inequalities yet refuses to acknowledge this fact, responding with bland generalities that "cycling in LTNs is up". In other words, the health and comfort of the many is being sacrificed for the benefit of the few!
What about the report saying LTNs benefit all groups equally?
That survey only looked at the demographics of people living in or near an LTN. It didn’t look at who actually benefits or what those benefits even are. What’s worse, it didn’t look at who suffers. Some of the people most negatively affected by the imposition of LTNs count as “benefitting” from an LTN in terms of that survey. Sofia Sheikh is one such person.
Isn’t there a climate emergency ?
There certainly is, but LTNs are no part of the solution. Those of us who can, may indeed need to reduce our car miles and use more active transport where practical, but the infrastructure to make this work is not yet in place. The council claims it is encouraging more cycling. Many people are unable to cycle (the council’s preferred alternative) and the council has nothing for them. Many people have to rely on motor vehicles for access to healthcare, to conduct their trade, to do a single monthly shop, to care for relatives, to move house…
If Lambeth councillors were really taking the Climate Emergency seriously, they would be lobbying TfL, the Mayor and central government for a vastly improved public transport infrastructure. If they genuinely cared about sustainable transport, they would be making long-term strategic plans, instead of using a deadly pandemic to impose anti-environmental, pollution-increasing LTNs.
Yes, but we have to do something!
Doing something does not mean doing just anything. “I can’t think of anything else“ is not a justification for doing something harmful.
If LTNs make the climate crisis worse by increasing carbon emissions, if they make the health crisis worse by increasing toxic emissions, if they make health inequalities worse by giving a few people cleaner air while making the majority breath worse pollution (including from cars and vans going round the houses to reach the few people inside LTNs for whom the majority suffer)... what is the problem they are supposed to be solving? Doing a foolish thing in a hurry is worse than doing nothing while you find the right solution.
I'm an environmentalist, I have to be pro-LTN
There is nothing Green about LTNs on a borough-wide scale. They may well quieten a few roads at rush hour but they make all the other roads worse all the time. They drive pollution *up* not down. Worst of all, they are so cynically sold as a Green solution, when they are not, they risk turning residents against any legitimate environmental measures. Once you've lied to somebody, it takes along time to get their trust back. Lambeth would do well to remember this.
Isn’t more cycling good? Why are you anti-cycling?
We hear this a lot but OneLambeth is anything but anti-cycling. We love cycling!
In fact we contest that LTNs fundamentally are anti-cycling when the wider picture is considered. Commuter cyclists using main road superhighways are now exposed to increased pollution as a result of traffic displaced by LTNs and increased accident risk. This is no way to promote sustainable transport.
Many opponents of LTNs are also keen and regular cyclists. Despite the claims of Councillor Claire Holland, this isn’t a “culture war between those who want to drive wherever they want, whenever they want, as fast as they want” and “the rest of us.” It’s a culture war between those of us who respect the democratic process and reject Lambeth's health inequalities - and those who are lobbying to make motorised transport impossible, regardless of the impact on vulnerable groups, businesses and the Emergency Services.
A pro-cycling group measured an increase in cycling after Railton LTN was introduced, so it must be working
Actually, they measured an increase in rush-hour cycling on school roads between the summer holidays and a week after Lambeth schools returned. Strangely their report made its way into council briefings but failed to mention the return of schools. Draw your own conclusions...
Can't we just wait until the results of the trials are complete?
Lambeth Council have provided no criteria by which the success or failure of LTNs could be assessed. They literally cannot "fail" because the is no measure by which they could be judges as having failed! Lambeth is now conducting surveys which have no valid baseline to compare them with, and ignoring TfL data indicating that congestion in the borough is *up* by 40%
Surely if they were such a problem, the Emergency Services would complain
FOI requests reveal that in 2019, London Fire Brigade experienced 11 delays due to "modal filters" in Lambeth (traffic restrictions etc). In 2020 this more than tripled to 37 recorded incidents. In all of 2019 London Ambulance experienced no delays due to "modal filters". Between May and September 2020 it was 7. Lambeth council has placed numerous width restrictions that limit fire engine access despite LFB refusing to approve their plans.
What do you want to happen?
OneLambeth is campaigning towards having all LTNs declared illegal and a full suspension.
Then we will we actively engage with the Council on measures to identify the real problems with transport in Lambeth and explore joined-up solutions that are rooted in science, data, community consultation, inclusivity, non-discrimination, democracy and strategic planning - as it always should have been done.
Our approach is in direct contrast to the irrational, dogmatic, ideological fanaticism with which Lambeth dishonestly imposed LTNs.
What can I do?
• Please get involved, join us on social media and donate to the legal fundraiser, share the fundraiser.
• Follow the links higher up the page.
• And please watch and share this video: See what Lambeth LTNs are doing to Emergency Services in our campaign video
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