Low-traffic areas are blamed in fury for delays that result in more than 3000 fire engines being dispatched to emergency calls in London

  • Low-traffic neighbourhoods were blamed for thousands of delays to fire engines
  • More than 3,000 engines last year were delayed by traffic calming measures 
  • The controversial scheme was created in London and the rest of the UK in 2020 

There has been fury after low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) were blamed for delays to more than 3,000 fire engines out on emergency calls in London.

Analysis of data from London Fire Brigade showed firefighters had slowed response times 3,035 times last year and a fifth of fire engine delays happened because of traffic calming measures.

It is a 42 per cent increase on that stats for 2020, when traffic calming measures such as LTNs, speed bumps and 20mph zones caused 2,145 delays to firefighters.

LTNs are supposed to decrease traffic in certain zones but critics say they just increase traffic elsewhere and get in the way of emergency services.

Low-traffic neighbourhoods were blamed for thousands of delays to fire engines in 2021

Fire engines were delayed in thousands because of low-traffic areas. in 2021 

A fire engine struggling to work through traffic Upper Tooting Road, covered by Wandsworth Council, which runs through a new LTN area while heading to an emergency

Upper Tooting Road runs through a major new LTN area which has been installed by the council

An engine fire engine trying to get through Upper Tooting Road traffic, as it heads to an emergency. The new LTN zone is covered by Wandsworth Council. 

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, gave hundreds of millions to councils in May 2020 in order to establish LTNs. He wanted to encourage people to use more eco-friendly travel options during this pandemic.

However, the move was met with strong opposition. Many councils have abandoned this controversial plan.

Analysis by The Telegraph revealed that Hackney’s fire engines had the most traffic calming delays, with 168 delays in 2021. Lambeth, however, saw delays close to tripling from 83 in 2020, to 160 in 2021.

Analysis of data from London Fire Brigade showed firefighters had slowed response times 3,035 times last year and a fifth of fire engine delays happened because of traffic calming measures

Analysing data from London Fire Brigade revealed that firefighters experienced a slow response time of 3,035 times last ye and that traffic calming was responsible for a fifth fire engine delay. 

South London’s Bexley was the most affected by traffic calming, followed closely by Merton, Sutton, and Merton. In total, there were just 27, 35, 43, and 43 delays in 2021.

Brixton resident Katie Taylor told MailOnline: ‘I live on Shakespeare Road and have been on the wrong end of a LTN implemented by the Lambeth council. 

“We got less than one week’s notice regarding the changes.

“The scheme is still extremely divisive and is creating a lot of distress to residents concerned about many different issues.”

Ambulances have also been impeded by low-traffic neighbourhoods bollards for the scheme worth hundreds of millions of pounds

The scheme that is worth hundreds of million of pounds has also hindered ambulances.

There were more than 150 separate instances of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) slowing down ambulance crews in London in an eight-month period, it emerged last year year. (Pictured: A steady stream of patients were brought to Royal London Hospital in 2020)

It was discovered last year that there were 150 instances in which low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), slowed down London ambulance crews for an 8-month period. (Pictured) A steady flow of patients was brought to Royal London Hospital for 2020.

She said, “There are large fractures emerging” and that there is a growing hostility among different groups.

 Meanwhile, Morgan Douglas, who lives in Bowes Park, Enfield, said: ‘The scheme’s masters openly admit that traffic on the main roads surrounding the are will increase. 

Why are drivers upset about the active travel plan of government?

The Government spent £225million on active travel measures across the country, most notably in London, Oxford, Manchester and York.

According to the Department of Transport, this money will allow local authorities create ‘new walking and cycling facilities.

But, the councils need to show officials they are able to make quick and effective plans to shift road space for cyclists and pedestrians (both types) along with strategic corridors. 

“Many smaller roads now bear the brunt of this poorly thought-out plan for stationary traffic.”

In September 2020, he said that an ambulance had been parked on top of one of the barriers. The police then chased someone to the barrier so they could pass through.

London Fire Brigade spokesperson said that the attendance targets were to have the first fire engine respond to an emergency within six minutes, and the second within eight minutes.

“We achieved this goal successfully during the Covid-19 pandemic, and we will keep an eye on our progress.

The Brigade supports active travel proposals and works closely with local authorities partners. We are also consulted whenever there is a road closure proposal.

We will discuss any concerns we may have about changes to our response times with the authorities.

“While some information will be provided regarding the effect of low traffic neighbourhood schemes, the data also includes all other traffic calming measures such as speed bumps. Therefore, the LTN scheme is not responsible for all delays.

A spokesperson for Department for Transport stated that traffic-calming plans designed well can reduce congestion in certain areas and help emergency service personnel by helping to alleviate traffic.

“The details of these plans are a matter for the local authorities.