Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods
A Brent Healthy Neighbourhood (BHN) is a group of residential streets where vehicle traffic which isn’t local to the area is either discouraged or removed. These areas can also be referred to as 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods'.
In a BHN, residents are still able to drive onto their street and get deliveries. However, road closures are placed at certain points within neighbourhoods to stop “non-local” traffic (cars, lorries, vans, for example) from passing through the area.
Brent plans to roll out a series of BHN between August 2020 and February 2021, in partnership with Transport for London and the Department for Transport.
Why do we need Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods?
As lockdown restrictions are eased, it is expected that many people will be avoiding using public transport. This could in turn mean increased car use, which will lead to more traffic congested streets, worse air quality, increased road danger and increased carbon emissions.
As part of a wider plan to make walking and cycling more appealing options, it’s also important that we take action at a neighbourhood level to prevent traffic from diverting onto local roads.
How do they work?
Colourful planters, such as the ones pictured below, are placed at strategic points. These act as filters stopping traffic from using the residential road as a cut-through.
Everyone will be able to walk and cycle through the area and residents can still drive to their home using an altered route Emergency access is also available.
Are there any health benefits?
Yes. Reduced traffic and congestion in a street means more people space for people to walk and cycle, improved air quality and more physical activity in general.
In Waltham Forest, after one year of having a low traffic neighbourhood implemented it is estimated that people were walking and cycling 41 minutes more each week, on average. This extra activity could have huge benefits for mental and physical health. In fact, a King’s College London study of Waltham Forest has shown that these changes result in several months added to life expectancy across the population.
Low traffic neighbourhoods also mean that communities can reclaim their streets. There is more space for communities to reconnect after having experienced lockdown. During the COVID-19 pandemic, giving space back to residents is more important than ever.
Lots of information on benefits can be found at the London Living Streets website
Won't they just increase traffic on nearby streets?
With any new scheme, it may take some time to see a change, but evidence from other areas of London shows that low traffic neighbourhoods result in an overall reduction in traffic, with people opting to walk and cycle rather than taking the car. One neighbourhood in Waltham Forest saw a 44% reduction in traffic within the neighbourhood. Within the year, on average people were walking and cycling 41 minutes more each week.
Where else have low traffic neighbourhoods been built?
Examples of London Boroughs with Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are Waltham Forest and Enfield.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being implemented across London as part of the TfL Streetspace scheme.
In other countries, the Netherlands has successfully implemented similar low-traffic schemes. Here, walking and cycling is now the main mode of transport for the majority of journeys.
Where are Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods currently planned?
The following locations are now Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods. To have your say on the schemes, follow the links below.
- Stonebridge and Harlesden Area Healthy Neighbourhood Scheme
- Tokyngton and Wembley Central Area Healthy Neighbourhood Scheme
You can have your say until 7 February 2021.
A further eight Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods will be in place before 30 September:
- Harley Road area, Harlesden
- Queens Park area, Queens Park
- Kilburn area, Queens Park
- Olive Road area, Mapesbury
- Dollis Hill area, Dollis Hill
- Preston Park, Preston
- South of Princess Avenue area, Queensbury
- Roundwood Park area, Willesden
Why have these locations been chosen?
The council looked at access to green space, air quality, levels of deprivation, poor road safety as well as a number of other metrics to decide on where to implement Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Their contribution to our recovery plan priorities/objectives was also taken into account. The deliverability of the scheme was also essential, as funding allocated must be spent within a certain timeframe.
Why wasn't I consulted before this happened?
In normal circumstances we would not implement a traffic scheme like this without comprehensive engagement with the local community first. Because of the urgency required in dealing with The COVID-19 pandemic, the Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods will be introduced as a temporary scheme using an experimental traffic order.
Residents in affected areas will be sent a letter outlining the changes, and informing them that they can visit www.brent.gov.uk/consultation to have their say.
Whilst the experimental traffic order can last up to 18 months, public comments can be made during the first 6 months. A review will be conducted after 6 months and taking all comments into account a decision will then be made to make schemes permanent with or without amendment, or to remove schemes.
How can I comment on these schemes?
As there are several schemes planned, you can comment on the schemes you are interested in.
How will the success be monitored?
Traffic surveys have been undertaken in the areas where Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods are being implemented. These will be done again during the scheme to assess the impact on traffic levels.
Brent’s existing air quality network will be monitored to assess changes in NO2 concentrations. We also aim is to collect NO2 data at a sample of Brent Healthy Neighbourhoods during the 6 month trial period.
Comments collected during the initial consultation period will be reviewed as part of monitoring the success of the scheme.
Can I request for my local neighbourhood to be included
Expansion of this scheme will depend on additional funding being obtained and there is no guarantee of this. However, if think a local neighbourhood could benefit, you can let us know your ideas. These comments are reviewed periodically and added into a list of schemes to be prioritised as and when funding becomes available.