Friday 19 May 2023

Brent lags on delivery of 'Climate Safe Streets' - disappointment over lack of meaningful action


From Brent Cycling Campaign

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has released a new report on borough and Mayoral progress on delivering on ‘Climate Safe Streets’ – schemes designed to decarbonise roads transport, boost walking & cycling rates and cut motor vehicle use.


The ‘Climate Safe Streets: One Year On, One Year To Go’ report names the boroughs doing best and worst on decarbonising their roads, with borough leaders one year into their current term and with the Mayor having one year to go in his. It tracks London’s progress by assessing action the boroughs and Mayor have taken in line with LCC’s Climate Safe Streets campaigning and makes use of key data on transport mode shift away from private motor vehicles over the last decade too.


Prior to the 2022 local council elections, LCC members and activists in Brent asked the council leader to commit to delivering on a set of specific schemes to enable more people to walk and cycle in the borough and to shift the borough away from private motor vehicle use (wherever possible) and the climate-changing emissions, road danger, inactivity and pollution they cause.  Brent 'Asks'.

 Party responses to request for pledges in the May 2022 Brent Council Elections:

The  report released yesterday by the LCC in conjunction with its local group Brent Cycling Group, says the following about Brent council’s progress over the last year:


Given that the current council leader Muhammed Butt, not only has committed to climate targets for the entire borough of 2030 – marking it out as one of London’s bolder boroughs –it’s quite startling to see the gulf here between the talk and actions. Brent is failing to deliver on just about every sensible approach to roads transport decarbonisation going. It will need to do far, far more and far faster than rely on TfL to deliver one short cycle route to enable active travel, or commercial providers to roll out freight mode shift. 



Sylvia Gauthereau, of Brent Cycling Campaign said.


It’s disappointing to see the lack of meaningful action and lack of emergency over climate action in Brent. The tendency for the Council to over rely on everyone else, may it be TfL or community groups to lead, is more evidence that the political will is just not there despite ambitious, electoral promises. The fragmented and slow-paced approach is no longer suitable given how time sensitive tackling road decarbonisation is. The time to do something bold is now.


Four boroughs are failing to deliver any real ‘Climate Safe Streets’ for residents in their boroughs. In descending order of mode shift away from private motor vehicles pre-pandemic, they are:


  1. Tower Hamlets
  2. Bromley
  3. Hillingdon
  4. Bexley


Tower Hamlets is the only London borough where a higher proportion of journeys were being made using private motor vehicles before the pandemic than a decade ago (mode share rose by over 4%). The inner London borough has very low levels of car ownership, but did nothing to constrain car use pre-pandemic. And since the local elections, Tower Hamlets has elected a Mayor on a manifesto of ‘reopening roads’ by removing active travel and car restriction schemes.


The remaining boroughs


12 further boroughs are significantly behind on delivering schemes asked for by LCC’s ‘Climate Safe Streets’ campaign (beyond the already-named bottom four). Of these, the leaders of both Greenwich and Kingston Upon Thames councils both made full commitments to LCC’s campaign ‘asks’ prior to the local council elections but are thus far failing to deliver on those commitments. (Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea, Redbridge and Sutton are all significantly failing to deliver on Climate Safe Streets schemes). 


LCC’s report provides specific recommendations to the leadership for each London borough to help them get on track delivering on roads transport emissions, against their climate emergency declarations (in London, only Bexley and Bromley appear to have not declared an ‘emergency’).


Mayoral delivery


As well as assessing the boroughs’ progress to delivering ‘Climate Safe Streets’, LCC’s report also assesses the  London Mayor’s progress.


The good news is the Mayor of London’s commitment to a ‘Vision Zero’ of eliminating serious and fatal collisions from London’s roads by 2041 is broadly on track – likely due to the roll-out of 20mph zones, active travel schemes and the Met Police’s increasing speed enforcement (the Met is due to enforce 1 million speeding offences annually by 2024). However, improvements to dangerous junctions remain slow to roll out, and the Mayor’s self-set target of making London ‘Net Zero’ on climate emissions by 2030, requiring a 27% cut in road km driven according to his team, is not on target. Vehicle km driven were rising pre-pandemic, private motor vehicle mode share was not coming down fast enough and patchy delivery by boroughs remains a serious issue.


LCC’s recommendations from the report are that the Mayor must accelerate his programme, particularly ensuring ULEZ expansion set for August is not delayed or weakened, get bolder on the schemes and roads he has direct powers over, and solve the current siloed working inside TfL in favour of schemes that deliver for buses and active travel. 

Simon Munk, Head of Campaigns, London Cycling Campaign


We need a lot more boroughs delivering ‘Climate Safe Streets’ like Hackney and Waltham Forest and fewer, like Tower Hamlets and Bromley, failing to deliver as our new report shows. Every London council and the Mayor must deliver more streets fit for cycling, walking and children playing, and faster, if we’re to help London escape the grip of car dependency and the cost of living crisis. Our new ‘One Year On, One Year To Go’ report highlights what needs to be done, for future generations, and to make London now a better city today.


 The full report can be read and downloaded HERE,


Anonymous said...

Same old same old. Butt talks the talk but fails to walk the walk.

Anonymous said...

You can’t walk the walk with Lime bikes blocking the pavement.

David Walton said...

With no Public Right of Way Definitive Map and Statement for half of Brent ( former Borough of Willesden) being the political consensus, Brent is clearly actively hostile to local walking and cycling routes being strong protected and invested in.

I'm asking Gov and GLA direct how sub-optimal a boroughs statutory Transport Plan can be?

Brent examples

The UK's world class transport super-hub at Greater Harlesden is by Brent Transport Plan ignored. As is the new Kensal Elizabeth Line Station/ bridge and canal bridge linking up Greater Kensal.

South Kilburn car-free housing towers 30,000 population new town by 2041 is 1,200m from the GLA Central London boundary and its high quality safe cycle network infrastructure already built. The Brent alternative plan however is for South Kilburn zone to double its vehicle roads?

The River Brent cycle route off road bikes should be upgraded for street bikes for a new Wembley Park City to OPDC/ Harlesden super hub for route one and car-free travel.

A less Braverman and more common sense Brent is urgent needed if good population growth zones are to ever become Brent realities. Only grey growth in the decision makers room is delivering a mountain of Brent Bad Growth Climate Crisis zoned.

Anonymous said...

Brent's performance on Climate Change is terrible, and their pathetic targets are nowhere near being achieved. As for Cllr Sheth being in charge of Climate Change, what a laugh, she of the "I think this concrete garden is wonderful, I wish I had one like this"

Do ask her how much is in the council budget for new trees (as per their targets), I think you will find it is zero. Other cabinet members have been heard to say that we shouldn't plant any more trees, they are too expensice to maintain. This the borough with the poorest tree canopy in London, as well as being one of the tree poorest boroughs, no matter how you look at it.

Brent needs a new direction and a new leader, but where will they come from, not the present lot obviously, and using Harrows changes, well that didn't work did it?

David Walton said...

The Great West car-free towers new City Wall stretching from Brent Cross down to Brentford, time to consider major investment in its active travel, nature access and linkages into rather than severances from 'right place' resilience building welfarista conservation areas strong protected adjacent?

The River Brent is an obvious green-blue human linkway investment through this Great West Towers Wall.

When will the current Bad Growth political consensus finally break?

David Walton said...

Truly remarkable post human grey bad growth how Europe's biggest regeneration, new London West car-free housing Mega City builds on as segregated developer take-all fragments bit-by-bit new West City unannounced.