Council raises £2.7m by fining drivers for breaching LTNs

Residents from Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets march to Town Hall in protest of road closures.

Residents from Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets march to Town Hall in protest of road closures and other low-traffic measures. - Credit: Joshua Thurston

Hackney Council has raked in £2.7m by fining drivers £130-a-pop for breaching controversial low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) rules.

Parking officials have slapped drivers with 69,956 penalty charge notices (PCNs) since the scheme was introduced in June 2020.

Hackney issued a staggering 44,525 PCNs for LTN breaches in 2020 alone – behind only Lewisham Council, who gave 61,351 from July to December.

An internal council analysis revealed that 82 per cent of drivers fined didn’t even live in the borough –sparking accusations that drivers are treating Hackney as a “rat run”.

Anti-LTN protesters march in Hackney.

In Hackney, low traffic neighbourhoods have been introduced by the council with the aim of encouraging walking, cycling and shopping locally. - Credit: Joshua Thurston

An advanced network of council-run CCTV cameras monitors traffic in and out of the neighbourhoods.

Drivers caught breaching the LTN are immediately sent a £130 fine in the post – but the sum is reduced by half if paid within 14 days.

The £2,748,283 raised through fines will be poured back into the borough’s transport budget.

In February, the council was ordered to find £24m of savings by 2023/24 to fill a budget black hole left by Covid-19 and reduced contributions from the government.

And Mayor Philip Glanville warned that October’s cyber attack is likely to cost the borough an additional £10m.

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Last Saturday anti-LTN campaigners from Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets marched to Hackney Town Hall to protest the low traffic neighbourhood scheme.

Campaigners argued that it shifts traffic onto main roads and does nothing to tackle pollution.

An analysis of the London Fields LTN revealed that traffic dropped by an average of 44 per cent – with some roads seeing reductions of up to 94 per cent.

Cllr Mete Coban, portfolio holder for transport, said: “LTNs are important because they discourage through-traffic from using neighbourhood streets – where there are fewer pedestrian crossings and roads are less able to handle high volumes of traffic – and encourage people to switch local car journeys for walking and cycling."

Protesters marching through Old Street roundabout. 

Protesters marching through Old Street roundabout. - Credit: Joshua Thurston

We know not everyone can make this switch, which is why all addresses in LTNs can still be accessed by car.

“We don’t want to issue anyone a PCN, but unfortunately, a small minority of drivers are continuing to try to use Hackney’s residential streets as rat-runs."

The councillor stated that that the high number of PCNs demonstrates the "scale of the challenge" adding that the fines are reinvested back into the borough. 

Council analysis has revealed that about eight in 10 drivers fined in 2020 did not even live in the borough.

Council analysis has revealed that about eight in 10 drivers fined in 2020 did not even live in the borough. - Credit: Joshua Thurston

This story was originally published on June 30, including the description "mob of angry residents", accompanied by an unrepresentative picture of a person draped in a Union flag. Both have since been removed.

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