LTNs had ‘no impact’ on fire response times in London last year, new figures show

In 2020, the average response time for a fire in London was five minutes and one second. Photograph: Garry Saunders

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) did not affect London Fire Brigade response times last year, according to new data.

The Brigade’s annual report on incident response times, published on the London Data Store, revealed that it had not yet noticed any impact on attendance times from the schemes.

But the report did note that roads were quieter than usual in 2020 due to lockdown restrictions, which could have contributed to the improved response times compared to 2019.

It read: “In 2020 a number of LTNs were introduced across London as temporary measures to create more space for walking and cycling, allowing people to travel more safely during the Covid pandemic.

“During the pandemic we have had more resources that are immediately available to respond, and roads (during lockdown periods) have been quieter. That being the case, we haven’t yet noticed any impact on our attendance times due to the LTN schemes established in 2020; however, we will continue to monitor their impact at a local level.

“The attendance times to boroughs in inner London, where the majority of the LTNs seem to be, still remain quicker than those in outer London.”

In 2020, the London-wide average response time for the first fire engine to arrive at an incident was five minutes and one second – almost a minute less than the target response time of six minutes.

Although LTNs have existed in the capital since the 1970s, they have become increasingly divisive since more were introduced last year.

There has been vocal opposition to the schemes, which are implemented by local councils, and the issue has become a key one in the upcoming elections.

In Hackney, a community company recently won an appeal that will see it challenge the council’s roll-out of LTNs in court.

At the launch of his re-election campaign earlier this month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was forced to wait inside a coffee shop for an hour after being confronted by residents protesting an LTN imposed by Enfield council.

Meanwhile, Khan’s Conservative opponent Shaun Bailey this week promised to “rip up” unwanted LTNs “within 100 days of consultation” if elected on 6 May.

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