Gazette letters: Low traffic neighbourhoods and flu jab

Gridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filt

Gridlock in Amhurst Road, Hackney Central - where the council is considering putting up traffic filters to prevent through-traffic. Picture: Hackney Council - Credit: hackney council

While the effect of coronavirus continues to hit London hard, one of the few benefits of lockdown was a cleaner, greener city, with less traffic, cleaner air and more walking and cycling, writes Cllr Jon Burke, Hackney Council cabinet member for energy, waste, transport and public realm.

We want to rebuild a greener Hackney and secure these benefits for future generations.

We’re currently hard at work introducing three new low traffic neighbourhoods in Hackney Downs, Hoxton West and London Fields and creating 40 new School Streets, helping over 14,000 children walk and cycle to school.

We know that these changes are ambitious and so we want to put residents’ views at the heart of this process.

I’d like to thank local people for their views so far - we’ve already made a change to the Hoxton West low traffic neighbourhood based on their feedback.

I’d also like to thank residents for their patience while we introduce these changes. We know there is increased traffic on some main roads - this is partly due to roadworks in Hackney Road and Stoke Newington, but there is also some temporary disruption as drivers get used to new low traffic neighbourhoods.

While we are monitoring traffic levels and listening to residents’ views, I’d like to reassure residents that we expect traffic levels to reduce in the coming weeks. Evidence from other similar schemes also points to their potential to reduce overall traffic levels in the long term, not just in each low traffic neighbourhood.

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We also do not want to make residents’ lives harder. All of our new filters allow local people, including disabled residents and businesses, to continue to access their property by car or van.

However, we do have to act. It is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that 40 per cent of traffic does not start or end in the borough, instead using our neighbourhood streets only as a rat run.

It is simply not right that these drivers use shortcuts through residential areas, passing through streets where most households do not own a car.

Traffic is already at pre-lockdown levels or above. If we do not take action quickly, commuters from out of Hackney will take to their cars, blighting our neighbourhoods and exacerbating the air quality and road safety crises we faced before lockdown.

If we are brave now, we can reclaim Hackney’s streets for people, not cars, and secure the cleaner, quieter neighbourhoods we experienced during lockdown.

This has always been our ambition. The pandemic makes it an imperative.

Residents have their say at:

A lot has been said, written and posted on the road closures in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, writes an Islington resident, full name and address supplied.

This is my perspective, I am 60-years-old and disabled. I am in possession of an electric car which half of my allowance pays for.

I have great difficulty using public transport and am in the high risk category re: Covid-19, therefore, the car is essential for me. I do shopping, attend the pharmacy, doctors, hospital appointments, etc.

I need to get from A to B fairly quickly otherwise I may urinate on myself due to my health issues. I cannot walk long distances - again, the car is essential.

My car is a lifeline for me and many others in my position. Who in their right minds thought they were helping anyone with these draconian road closures, who?

They can spout all the studies, market research and statistics they like. They are penalising decent folk.

We just want to get around safely and easily, we are not rat runners, we are people who pay our rent and taxes and deserve to be treated better than this. I am depressed and angry. I do not want to live in London anymore, I feel isolated and scared. Will someone please listen to us? This is not the world we want to live in.

Diabetes UK is urging everyone with diabetes to take up the offer of a free flu jab through their local pharmacy or GP - this year more than ever, writes Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK.

Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself against the flu and reduce your risk of needing to go into hospital, which is highly important because of Covid-19.

Data from Public Health England estimates that almost one third of people aged 16 to 65 living with diabetes in London are missing out on their jab and are therefore at risk of developing serious complications if they contract flu.

If you’re living with diabetes, you’re more at risk of getting the flu and, if you catch it, it can make your diabetes harder to manage and cause your blood sugar levels to rise dangerously high.

This can lead to acute complications, which may go unrecognised and can even be fatal.

That’s why it’s essential that everyone at high risk of serious illness from flu gets vaccinated as soon as possible – especially as it can take up to two weeks for it to be effective. Without it, flu can also develop to pneumonia or bronchitis, which might require hospital admission. For more information about diabetes and flu, visit

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