Low traffic neighbourhoods: Newcastle LTN trial in Fenham will not be made permanent

Several streets closed to through traffic in Fenham, Newcastle, will reopen after the council decided not to make the low-traffic neighbour trial permanent. Credit: Newcastle Council

A low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) trial in an area of Newcastle will not be made permanent after a review by the council.

Several streets in Fenham were closed to through traffic in March 2022 as part of an 18-month trial scheme to reduce the volume of vehicles using local streets and help promote more active travel.

The trial ends on 8 September and it will not be renewed by Newcastle City Council when it expires.

The move comes amid national pressure against green policies after the expansion of the ultra-low emission and clean air zones across the country. Last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ordered a formal review of LTNs across the country.

The measures to close the junction of Queensway and Kingsway to through traffic, as well as Gowland Avenue and Nuns Moor Road, near the junctions with Bolbec Road and Cedar Road, will be removed by 7 September.

Newcastle City Council said data from the trial shows that while there was a significant reduction in traffic on Nuns Moor Road and the north end of Queensway and Kingsway, traffic increased on neighbouring streets including Queensway (south of Alder Avenue), Kingsway (at its junction with Fenham Hall Drive), Brand Avenue, Severus Road and Sutherland Avenue rather than re-routing onto main roads.

Councilllor Jane Byrne, cabinet member for a connected, clean city said: “We’re committed to creating cleaner, greener and safer neighbourhoods and reducing the volume of traffic cutting through local streets is an important part in achieving this.

“Fenham was the first area of the city to pilot a neighbourhood low traffic zone trial and we haven’t seen enough evidence to keep it in place, particularly with the displacement of traffic onto what should be quiet residential streets, rather than rerouting onto the main roads.

Rishi Sunak has ordered a review into the use of LTNs. Credit: PA

“As we have said many times, these schemes are trials which are really important as they allow us to try the changes in local areas and see what works for people living in the zone.

“We also know that some people will be disappointed, but we’ve taken a lot of learning from the scheme, and we have a good basis for refining a future scheme by listening to residents and looking at the data in more detail.

“It is also important to note, that each neighbourhood low traffic zone is unique, as we use the data we collect alongside feedback from the public consultation, in deciding on the long-term future of individual schemes.”

Traffic counters will remain in place. This traffic data and discussions with residents will inform new proposals for the area, which could be installed in the summer of 2024.

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