Map reveals extent of LTNs and other road blocks across Britain
EXCLUSIVE – Britain’s LTN blackspots: Map reveals extent of road blocks across the country as locals set them on fire, vandalise and remove them in revolt – how many are in your area?
- Vigilantes in Rochdale set alight planters just hours after they were installed
- Elsewhere, drivers in Oxford have confronted activists policing blockades
- * Are LTNs causing chaos in your area? Please email: [email protected] *
An interactive map has revealed where hundreds of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are found in Britain as the schemes leave residents and businesses fed up.
Vigilantes in Rochdale have set alight planters blocking roads just hours after they were installed, while drivers in Oxford confronted activists policing blockades.
Fuming locals from Warrington to Walthamstow have contacted MailOnline today to complain about the schemes, with 300 already set up or being set up nationwide.
Others have voiced their concerns to MailOnline today about the LTNs or proposals for similar traffic schemes in both Islington and Enfield in North London, St Albans in Hertfordshire, Levenshulme in Manchester and Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
Now, the map built by social enterprise CycleStreets shows where ‘modal filters’ – measures such as bollards, gates and cycle contraflows – are located in the UK.
// Type your postcode into the search bar on the map below, then click on the circle in the top right to select LTNs and see what the situation is in your local area.
Light blue indicates the road is an LTN or a ‘modal filter’ blocks rat-running. The red shows ‘rat-runs’ where through-traffic is possible, while brown is where through-traffic is possible but traffic-calming measures deter it. Grey shows main roads. //
Developers looked at street data to determine the locations of these modal filters as well as which roads have through traffic going from one main road to another.
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They added that many of these measures have in fact existed since the 1980s and are far more widespread than the LTNs which have been in the news since they began springing up shortly after the pandemic began.
The research comes after a study in 2021 commissioned by the BikeIsBest campaign said mapping data had identified 25,676 modal filters across the UK – including 3,700 in London and 1,500 in Greater Manchester – such as bollards, kerbs and planters.
It comes as vigilantes in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, last week torched a number of planters which were used to close roads just hours after they were installed.
Footage shows the boxes completely destroyed, with locals online praising the ‘freedom fighters’ for acting against the low-traffic measures.
Frustrated residents in Oxford have also taken action against the schemes, with a video emerging of a driver confronting eco-zealots policing an LTN blockade and refusing to let her pass on her way to work. They have no authority to stand guard at the blockades.
The motorist was angrily telling the protesters to move out of the way, although Twitter users commenting on the video pointed out that a ‘no motor vehicles’ sign could be seen on the planter.
Emergency services were called in Rochdale after LTN planters were set alight and removed
The now-destroyed planters prohibited vehicles from using certain roads across Rochdale
The trial was implemented across Rochdale in Greater Manchester on Boundary Street, Durham Street, Leicester Street, New Barn Lane, Salkeld Street, and Whitby Street
BEFORE AND AFTER: The new ‘vehicle filters’ were put in place in Rochdale on Salkeld Street
BEFORE AND AFTER: Planters were also brought in on Boundary Street in Rochdale
BEFORE AND AFTER: Durham Street in Rochdale has also been affected by the planters
Outbreaks of violence have become more common since the introduction of LTNs, which councils are increasingly using to tackle congestion and pollution in towns and cities across the UK including London, Manchester and Birmingham.
How 15-minute cities could be coming to UK
The 15-minute city is an urban planning idea in which most daily necessities and services, such as work, shopping, education, healthcare and leisure can be easily reached by a 15-minute walk or bike ride.
The plan behind it is to reduce car dependency, promote healthy and sustainable living and improve the overall quality of life for city dwellers.
Councils in Ipswich, Bristol, Canterbury and Sheffield have all suggested proposals for elements of a 15-minute city, although none have yet actually been implemented in the UK.
Oxford has said it aims to be a fully functioning 15-minute city by 2040.
Most of the councils looking into the idea are Labour run which has often prompted a backlash from right-wing politicians in such areas.
And local residents in some affected areas have complained that such schemes will restrict their movements and are already being brought in by the back door with expanded cycle lanes and new bollards to redirect traffic away from side roads.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has vowed in her re-election campaign to implement a 15-minute city scheme.
Some conspiracy theorists believe the idea is actually a dark plan from the world’s elite to control society.
The LTN zones were introduced during the pandemic to block traffic in residential areas using bollards, planters or camera enforcement in a bid to encourage people to walk or cycle.
But critics say the schemes force traffic on to a small number of roads, increasing congestion and pollution.
Opponents also say LTNs make it impossible for residents or businesses to go about their daily lives and have turned some areas into rat-runs in favour of more affluent streets.
A series of violent incidents over LTNs has been reported in Oxford since they were launched, with an elderly man run down and another beaten with a traffic cone. The county council has now approved a £6.5million trial scheme to introduce ‘traffic filters’ on six arterial roads in the city.
Many councils have hailed the ploy as a success as they try to tackle congestion and pollution in towns and cities across the UK, with 300 already set up or being set up nationwide.
But the incident in Rochdale on March 23 has led to the trial being paused and a further consultation will now take place to ‘consider next steps’.
The trial was launched on February 6 in the Deeplish and Milkstone area of the town with the aim of encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling.
However, just hours after they were put in place videos were shared showing vehicles driving on the pavement to go around them.
And then just after 8pm, emergency services were called after some were set alight and forcibly removed from the road.
The ‘violence and threats’ have been condemned by the council, who cleared up the debris before reopening all affected roads.
The council later announced that the active travel trial this was part of has been paused after this action, meaning the roads will not be closed again while ‘next steps’ are considered.
In Oxford footage emerged today of eco-zealots policing an LTN blockade and refusing to let a driver past – despite having no authority to do so
Twitter users commenting on the video in Oxford pointed out that a ‘no motor vehicles’ sign could be seen on the planter
The active travel trial came after a consultation started in 2021 and was due to last six months.
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The consultation was set to carry on during this period so that the measures could potentially be adapted, decommissioned or made permanent.
The ‘vehicle filters’ were put in place in Rochdale on Boundary Street, Durham Street, Leicester Street, New Barn Lane, Salkeld Street and Whitby Street.
Other streets were made one-way, with double yellow lines and bollards to prevent pavement parking being put in place in other areas.
Traffic filters prohibiting some vehicles from using certain roads, by putting planters with ‘road closed’ signs on them, were installed last Thursday as part of these plans.
The scheme mirrors other similar controversial plans being introduced across areas in the UK such as Canterbury and Oxford to establish ’15-minute cities’.
A ’15-minute city’ is a planning concept aimed at allowing residents to reach key local services within a quarter of an hour by walking or cycling.
The concept has been criticised by Tory ‘Red Wall’ MP Nick Fletcher who warned traffic control measures will cost people their personal freedom.
Drivers destroyed bollards on Howard Street in Oxford last year which was part of an LTN
A bollard in an LTN destroyed by arsonists in July last year on Howard Street in Oxford
In May last year, a bollard on Temple Street off Cowley Road in Oxford was knocked down and placed in the adjacent planters – just 24 hours after being installed
Mohammed Yousuf, who runs Auto Shop on Milkstone Road in Rochdale, shared the video on their Facebook group.
How LTNs have caused fury across Britain
Drivers have complained they are facing a so-called ‘war on motorists’ across the UK, with low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and clean air zones limiting the areas in which cars can drive freely.
LTNs forbid motorists from travelling down certain routes and funnel them into other streets.
But opponents say they make it impossible for residents or businesses to go about their daily lives and have turned some areas into rat-runs in favour of more affluent streets.
In February, around 2,000 people gathered in Oxford to protest against the city’s LTN schemes, which require motorists to pay for 100-day permits to drive along six main roads in the city.
Canterbury is planning a similar scheme, which will divide the city into five districts and require residents to exit the city and travel on a ring road if they want to reach a different area.
Meanwhile in Hackney, east London, the Labour-run council is set to ban vehicles from up to 75 per cent of its roads in an expansion of its existing LTN restrictions.
It also emerged that in just four months, Haringey Council in London could earn £6.1 million in fines from two schemes it set up last August.
In November, the TaxPayers’ Alliance estimated that ‘cash cow’ LTNs have generated up to £100 million of income for local councils since their inception.
He described the shop as a ‘community hub’ with many residents raising their concerns over the sudden road closures to him.
However, he does think that residents broadly support the plans but have concerns at how suddenly and widespread road closures were implemented.
‘Most of the community were aware of it being introduced but they weren’t aware how many would be closed at once,’ he said.
‘Why block everything all at once? It added on at least half a mile for a lot of people’s journeys which must have angered some members of the community.
‘I passed it on to the local councillor Shahid and told him it (anger) would only get worse and the police and fire service would have to be involved again.
‘He agreed we needed to sit down and start again and he worked all night on trying to address what had happened.
‘They have managed to get it paused for now so we can reach an agreement again and proceed from there. The majority are for the scheme but not in the way it was done here, they shouldn’t have blocked every street on the same day.
‘A lot of people felt they were not involved in the consultation before so it’s good news that they’re going to get the community together where we can sit and talk it through, that’s what people want. People want something done to address the problems the scheme was hoping for but they want it done right.’
Another unnamed resident told the MEN: ‘I think setting fire to it was too far and dangerous. I can understand why there was concern, I don’t think a lot of people knew roads were going to be closed. But something does need to be done about the amount of cars around here it’s a nightmare.’
Milkstone and Deeplish councillor Shahid Mohammed worked through the night to address what had happened.
In a statement issued on Friday last week, he said: ‘I have been in contact with senior officers at the council and spoken to them about the events of last night in Milkstone and Deeplish.
Protest against Low Traffic Neighbourhood plans in the Cowley suburb of Oxford in June 2021
In Hackney, east London, the Labour-run council is set to ban vehicles from up to 75 per cent of its roads in an expansion of its existing LTN restrictions (pictured last November)
A protest held against low-traffic neighbourhoods in Ealing, West London, in April 2021
A low-traffic neighbourhood area in Leyton, East London – one of the many now across the UK
A cyclist passes planter barriers that form an LTN in Dulwich Village, South London, last year
‘Everybody who knows me, knows how much I care about this area and our amazing community and I understand there are some strong feelings out there about the active travel trial.
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‘However, while we are always willing to listen to feedback and want to work with the local community, violence and threats cannot and will not be tolerated.
‘The damage is being cleared by the council and police are investigating. Because of this, the Active Neighbourhoods trial has been paused while we assess and review the next steps.’
A spokesman for Rochdale Borough Council said: ‘While we understand there may be some strong feelings about the active travel trial on both sides, violence and threats will not be tolerated and the police are investigating this incident.
‘The damage has now been cleared by the council and the active travel trial has been paused while we consider our next steps.’
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said: ‘At around 8.10pm (on Thursday, March 23), one fire engine from Rochdale fire station was called to attend Boundary Street, Rochdale, in response to reports of a fire involving debris and rubbish in the roadway.
‘The crew arrived quickly and cleared the materials from the roadway. Firefighters made the scene safe before departing after around three quarters of an hour.’
* Are LTNs causing chaos in your area? Please email: [email protected] *
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