Residents fed up with low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) have launched an extraordinary rebellion against the controversial schemes – by setting them alight and taking on the green zealots who police them. The Mail has more.
Vigilantes in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, torched a number of planters which were used to close roads just hours after they were installed last week. 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.
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 U.K. including London, Manchester and Birmingham.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly defended the rollout of deeply unpopular money-making LTNs across the capital despite businesses, locals and workers branding them a “war on motorists”.
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.
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 £6.5 million 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 U.K., with 300 already set up or being set up nationwide.
But the incident in Rochdale on March 23rd 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 6th 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.
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