Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has received a letter signed by 120 medical professionals – doctors and nurses – supporting Transport for London’s Streetspace initiative and backing road changes that make it safer to walk or cycle around the capital.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, funded with £250million from the Conservative government, are being trialled across the capital, including in Croydon, with traffic calming measures intended to discourage car use and put a stop to rat runs.
The doctors’ and nurses’ letter to the Mayor says, “Since lockdown we have witnessed growth in motoring much faster than the return to public transport.
“Supporting people to walk and cycle with Streetspace is the best chance we have to arrest this rise and avoid a damaging car-based recovery that could set London back many years in progress on active and sustainable transport, road danger reduction and clean air.”
According to figures from TfL, since the easing of the first period of lockdown, 37 miles of cycle lanes have been built or upgraded around London.
The doctors and nurses say there is “clear evidence” that segregated routes lead to significant reductions in deaths and serious injuries. They say that obesity and inactivity leads to its own epidemic of disease.
They add that road pollution is the “principle source” in the capital of toxic air that causes the early deaths of thousands of Londoners every year.
There were 125 fatalities on London’s roads last year and 3,780 serious injuries, moving TfL further away from the Mayor’s Zero Vision target of no road deaths by 2041.
The letter states, “As health professionals, we consistently do our best to play our part, advising patients to walk and cycle to improve their health. However, a great many of our patients say they are reluctant to cycle as they feel it is to dangerous to do so in London.
“Evidence from many major cities — Copenhagen, Barcelona, Seville, and more recently small pockets of London and other UK cities – has clearly demonstrated that as soon as you build safe cycle routes, people start cycling.
“We are concerned that some of these valuable schemes have been removed, and consideration is being given to remove others.
“We would like to lend our support to TfL and council leaders across London to continue increasing the road changes to promote walking and cycling not removing them.”
The letter from the medical experts came in the same week that a campaign group based in Crystal Palace started legal action against Croydon Council to have LTNs removed from Upper Norwood and South Norwood.
Read the letter from the medical practitioners to the Mayor in full here:
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