Reacting to the news that Brent Council officers are recommending the withdrawal of some of the Healthy Neighbourhood schemes in the borough, Brent Cycling Campaign said:
We are still reading through all the reports (19!), and we will have a better clarity on the overall picture soon. The first impression, however, is that there's a sense the Council is not acknowledging its responsibility in the chaotic implementation and subsequent failure of this programme. These interventions were never fully implemented, operational (beyond a couple of weeks in places) or even enforced but this has been completely omitted in the decision making process. This is a rather large caveat to ignore.
As a result, it's difficult to draw meaningful, evidence led conclusions from them. There also seems to be a stark difference, a contradiction even, between insights drawn from the engagement process and the result from quantitative data via the online consultation. Without knowing the unique responses numbers - as you could respond more than once, or what is the modal split among respondents, it is hard to tell whether or not the online consultation is genuinely representative of residents' views. This is an important point, given that seems to be the main basis on which officers made their recommendation. As evidence shows, after the introduction of such measures, people start thinking whether or not some driven trips could be made differently as more choices become available to them. Driving is no longer seen as the default option for short local trips and people feel supported by a new enabling environment. But this happens gradually so it is expected that they may not be agreeable at first because they are the ones asked to make the biggest change.
The schemes were meant, and indeed funded, to be live trials with engagement and modifications during the consultation period. Instead, rather than engage with the process, many councillors either remained silent, not communicating about the trials or vocally encouraged residents to petition against them straight from the start.
We have no doubt that future schemes will be proposed, because the council knows they will have to tackle the many negative impacts of a car-centric environment, as part of the response to the climate emergency they declared. Residents want safe, healthy, quiet streets as well as clean air and low traffic neighbourhoods achieve that when done right alongside other supporting measures to enable people to switch to more sustainable modes of transport.
All in all, the way things have gone, this feels like a waste of public money, a waste of people's time and hopes for a better future.