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Norfolk County Council considers ‘low-traffic’ scheme

Norfolk County Council has said that it may impose highly-controversial low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) in the area.

The authority confirmed it was exploring the possibility of introducing the measures, which restrict the movement of vehicles through residential areas.

The schemes are designed to reduce traffic and cut rat-running by blocking certain streets with planters or bollards, or using surveillance cameras.

The low-traffic neighbourhoods are seen as high controversial schemes. Picture: iStock
The low-traffic neighbourhoods are seen as high controversial schemes. Picture: iStock

They have generated huge controversy in other parts of the country, with opponents setting fire to street furniture used to enforce the zones and protests attracting thousands of people.

Critics say LTNs force more traffic on to surrounding roads, cause delays to emergency services and restrict freedom of movement for some people who rely on cars.

However, their supporters say they are good for the environment and create more pleasant communities by driving down car ownership and getting people to switch to cycling and walking.

County Hall has not said where LTNs could be imposed in Norfolk but, in other parts of the country, they have been created in urban residential areas.

The possibility of creating them here emerged at a recent meeting of Norfolk County Council’s cabinet, where councillors faced questions from members of the public.

Dale Rea asked if such measures might be introduced and whether the public would be consulted.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, confirmed the authority was investigating the option.

He pledged the council would work with local communities to reduce the impact of unnecessary traffic in neighbourhoods and support active travel.

“This will involve the investigation of different measures based around the principle of healthy streets, that could include LTNs, school streets and lower speed limits,” he said.

“This work is at a very early stage and there are no firm plans at the current time.”

“The development of any scheme, such as an LTN, in the future would need to be in consultation with local elected representatives, the local community and other local stakeholders.”

Mr Rea criticised the response he received from Mr Plant calling it “vague and non-specific”.

LTNs are distinct from 20-minute neighbourhoods, another planning concept for creating communities where people should be able to walk to and from basic amenities like shops and parks in 15 or 20 minutes.

Norfolk County Council has previously said it is interested in exploring the idea of these neighbourhoods.

More than 300 LTNs have been set up or planned across the UK. Many councils have hailed them as a success in tackling congestion and pollution.

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