Pro-traffic scheme group says turnout half that of previous event
Protestors assemble on Uxbridge Road. Picture: Mike Hughes
The demonstration held in Ealing this Saturday (24 April) against Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes was even bigger than the one held earlier in September according to participants on the march.
Estimates of people taking part in the protest ranged from 3-5,000 but there was general agreement from people taking part that the turnout was higher than previous events.
These claims have been disputed by some that are in favour of the traffic schemes in the borough. The Better Ealing Streets group say its own count showed that there were only 1,100-1,200 people at the protest which would be half the number that attended the one last year.
The marchers assembled in Blondin Park where there was a festive atmosphere helped by the fine weather. The march proceeded along Northfield Avenue towards the Uxbridge Road and received honks of encouragement even from motorists stuck in resulting jams and from bus drivers. Traffic in the area was at a standstill for at least an hour.
A large crowd assembled outside the council offices where speeches from the organisers were applauded appreciatively.
The march makes it way towards the Town Hall. Picture: Roger Green
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Leader of Ealing Liberal Democrat Group who attended along with other councillors from his party, said, “At the rally there were many people who vote for a range of parties, but they all are in union against how the Labour-run Ealing Council introduced LTNs despite huge public opposition. The Liberal Democrats want to see Ealing Council drop their LTNs straight away and work with residents and residents’ associations to see how more can be done to encourage more to cycle without causing harm to those who are disabled or those who need their vehicles as part of their work life.”
One of the protestors, Paul Quinn said, “I haven’t been on a protest march since my time as a student but the atmosphere was very similar. I’m a cyclist who rarely uses my car but decided to come along because I felt it was self-evident that these schemes were not doing more harm than good.”
Another marcher, who asked not to be named said, “It’s been a great day but if I had one reservation it is that many people here seem to think that the LTNs and the way they have been implemented are just to do with Ealing Council. There were lots of placards mentioning Julian Bell but not one about Andrew Gilligan who is the originator of the whole debacle.”
Crowds assemble to hear speeches at the end of the March. Picture: Roger Green
Organisers One Ealing claims that rat-running is not a significant problem in many of the areas where LTNs are being imposed and they are unhappy about the lack of engagement and consultation with the community. In some cases it is alleged that the requirement for vehicles to circle around residential streets has actually increased traffic and pollution.
One protestor dress in an orange jump suit to make his point. Picture: Mike Hughes
Better Ealing Streets, a collective of local residents and groups, said, “Since the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes to reduce journeys by car, we have seen ever-growing numbers of residents walking and cycling locally, which is not only better for our personal health, but for our community and the planet.
“This is why the Conservative government, Labour’s London Mayor and councils run by many parties, including our local Labour council, continue to fund and support them.
“While there may be some who oppose LTNs, every serious independent study has shown the schemes have a majority support – and that support grows over time.
“Removing LTNs would just cause more congestion, more air pollution and make our roads more unsafe.”
The demonstration makes its way along Northfield Avenue. Picture: Mike Hughes
There are currently nine LTNs being trialled in Ealing. You can also have your say on LTNs in the borough via the council’s Commonplace website.
Residents can visit the low traffic neighbourhoods' page of Ealing council's website for further information on the schemes it has already implemented.
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April 25, 2021