Low traffic neighbourhoods

Many residential neighbourhoods have through-routes for cars, and so have too much traffic. Residential streets should be for local people to enjoy, not for vehicles speeding through to avoid congestion on the main roads. Less traffic means less air pollution from vehicles, reduced CO2 emissions, less noise and can make the area much more pleasant and safer for walking and cycling, which is proven to be significantly beneficial for health, physical and mental wellbeing.  

What is a low traffic neighbourhood?

A low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) is a residential area, bordered by main roads (roads that are often used by buses, lorries and non-local traffic), where "through" motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed, while allowing access for pedestrians and cyclists. To close a street, features such as bollards are placed strategically to still allow vehicle access to all properties for residents living within the LTN, but LTNs make it harder or impossible to drive through the area from one main road to the next.  

Why is Ealing supportive of low traffic neighbourhoods?

LTNs help support our climate objectives

The environmental impact of road transport is significant, both locally, and globally. Studies have shown that 63 per cent of nitrogen oxides which contribute to poor air quality, and are a significant contributor to global warming, mostly come from road transport.

LTNs help reduce the dominance of cars in residential areas, making more space for people and active travel.  With fewer people driving and more travelling actively, carbon emissions are reduced, reducing the contribution to climate change.

Reducing the environmental footprint of transport is one of Ealing’s core aims in the Transport Strategy and Climate Change Strategy. Reducing our contribution towards climate change will not only reduce the risk and severity of existing and future climate change related weather events, but will also improve the borough’s resilience to them.  For example, increased physical activity of the local population will improve health and therefore resilience to extreme temperatures. 

LTNs reduce rat running traffic in your local area and improve air quality

LTNs form part of the council’s solution to make Ealing a great healthy place to live, as by strategically closing a series of residential streets, it makes the journeys for those that were using the street as a cut through, more difficult. Evidence from Waltham Forest who introduced several LTNs saw that around 15 percent of non-local traffic from LTNs disappeared entirely as the drivers adjust their routes and behaviours.  This led to a reported 90% reduction in household exposure to nitrogen dioxide after Waltham Forest Council installed over 40 filters in residential areas.

Research also indicates that annually, up to 9,000 early deaths across Greater London and 387 early deaths within Ealing are attributed to poor air quality. Reducing the dominance of cars in our residential areas counters this trend.

LTNs enable residential areas to become more accessible for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walkers and cyclists

LTNs are designed to allow access to all residents by car, as well as the emergency services, deliveries and refuse collections. Therefore, those who are unable to walk or cycle will still be able to drive as usual, but for some routes this may take longer. However, by making the area nicer and safer to walk and cycle, we hope that you will take advantage of this. 

As LTNs render the area less enticing as a rat run, the streets become more accessible for wheelchairs, pedestrians and cyclists due to fewer vehicles passing through the area.  Furthermore, quieter and safer roads mean those who would normally travel by car are more likely to feel able to travel actively. This leaves more space for families with young children and the mobility impaired to make journeys without fear of high traffic volumes or speeds.

LTNs still allow residents and other vehicles (like the emergency services) acess for local uses 

All local streets will have complete motor access for local uses, such as residents accessing their property, visitors, waste collection, emergency services and deliveries.  According to Living Streets, data shows that response times for emergency services decreases with LTNs because less traffic means they can reach their destination faster.

Low traffic neighbourhoods and COVID-19

In response to COVID-19 and to make sure residents can travel actively to help reduce poor air quality, ease congestion and make our streets safer, Ealing was awarded funding for several low traffic neighbourhoods by Transport for London (TfL).  LTNs were specifically identified by Government as appropriate solutions to increase transport capacity and facilitate social distancing. The need to provide extra space for those travelling actively in the local area is essential for the post-lock down period where social distancing is needed, and public transport is at reduced capacity.  There is significant concern that large numbers of people will drive in order to avoid contact with other people on public transport. The road network will not be able to accommodate these extra journeys, which will entail drivers choosing to rat run through residential neighbourhoods, endangering local residents.

Where are Ealing's COVID low traffic neighbourhoods?

The purpose of an LTN is to prevent increased future rat running (outlined in Government guidance) given the likely lack of public transport use due to COVID and social distancing.  LTNs also have the effect of increasing the number of residents that travel actively, providing an environment where more people travel actively for shorter, local trips.

Using our local knowledge and expertise of LTNs as well as feedback from residents, areas were identified by proximity to major commuting routes, which indicate a high probability for rat- running. We are also aware that many popular sat-navs direct traffic through these areas when traffic builds up on other roads. Since then, analysis conducted by TfL, which is also available in map form, view the likely future traffic impacts in Ealing, has shown that the areas chosen are likely to see significant increases in traffic as public transport continues to operate well below capacity. 

The ten LTNs Ealing are currently looking to install are:

We are currently working on the final plans for the schemes and will upload them once finalised.  We are also making the plans look better and easier to understand. New versions of the plans may also be uploaded.

All dates are estimates and may be subject to change. 

Features Ealing is using for the LTNs

Large planters (large wooden or concrete containers filled with flowers or non-flowering plants, often used a street furniture) and drop-down bollards (for use by the emergency services and refuse vehicles only), will be used for all LTNs to transform residential streets into quieter and safer roads. 

Has Ealing consulted with the emergency services?

Yes, Ealing has already consulted with the emergency services and TfL have also carried out London-wide engagement with them to cover all the LTNs being implemented. No objections have been received. The emergency services and refuse vehicles will be able to access these areas using drop-down bollards. 

How is Ealing consulting with residents?

All LTNs will be implemented using an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO).  An ETO is a standard legal document used across the country to enable rapid installation of measures such as LTNs, pavement widening and cycle lanes or other innovative schemes.

Residents will be informed a week in advance of the introduction of an LTN in their neighbourhood and will be written to by the council to make them aware of the scheme. Residents will then have six months to respond to the statutory consultation allowing for the impact on the ground to be fully monitored and assessed. This allows us to move fast, as well as get feedback from resident experiences rather than expectations.

The planter boxes, bollards and other physical instalments used for the LTNs have been created using temporary and short-term materials over the initial six-months, so it is possible to make changes based on the consultation feedback.

In using ETOs, the council is following the guidelines laid down by central government, which are also part of the essential criteria for the funding. This means it is not possible, under these circumstances, to carry out standard consultations as that would prevent funding eligibility, and we would therefore not be able to implement any schemes to safeguard the public during this time. 

In addition to the statutory ETO consultation, the council will be carrying out a second non-statutory consultation to get a better understanding of residents’ views and experiences of the LTNs. Assuming that no changes have been made to the LTN, this would happen towards the end of the six month statutory consultation. Details will be shared with residents on how to take part nearer the time.

Have your say

Once the scheme has been implemented, to formally submit your support or objection to the scheme, please email TrafficNotices@ealing.gov.uk.

More information

If you want further information on upcoming schemes or have a general question, please email COVIDtransport@ealing.gov.uk,