Exclusive

London councils spend £500,000 a year fixing vandalised LTN cameras wrecked by angry drivers

31 July 2023, 13:01

Camera damage was found to be the most common type of vandalism with people pushing them upwards and away from the LTN filter, while others have seen paintballs being fired at them and bollards being removed.
Camera damage was found to be the most common type of vandalism with people pushing them upwards and away from the LTN filter, while others have seen paintballs being fired at them and bollards being removed. Picture: Social Media
Fraser Knight.

By Fraser Knight.

Borough councils in London spent half a million pounds last year fixing Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) cameras and bollards, as protesters revolt against their introduction.

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The figure, obtained by freedom of information requests, covers the nine councils which reported vandalism in the 12 months to April.

Some told LBC that they saw paintball guns being fired at cameras, while others saw them being pointed upwards, away from traffic.

At least two councils reported bollards being stolen, with the cost of replacing them in some cases running into the thousands of pounds.

The figures are revealed as the Prime Minister announced a review of LTNs and 20mph speed limits across the country as he declared he’s ‘on the drivers’ side’.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Rishi Sunak said: “I’m a dad and I’m a Conservative. And for both of those reasons, I care about what we leave for the next generation and I want to make sure that we do leave the environment and our climate in a better state than I found it. I feel that responsibility keenly.

“But I’m going to do that in a way that is pragmatic and proportionate, and not unnecessarily add costs or hassle to people’s lives, particularly at a time, like now, when families are already grappling with the impact of inflation being higher than any of us would like.”

Read more: Revolt of the resident ‘freedom fighters’ as hated LTN planters are torched - and driver clashes with eco-activists

Exclusive figures obtained by LBC show half a million pounds has been spent by London Boroughs in one year just fixing and maintaining LTNs after they’ve been vandalised.
Exclusive figures obtained by LBC show half a million pounds has been spent by London Boroughs in one year just fixing and maintaining LTNs after they’ve been vandalised. Picture: Alamy

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods work by limiting traffic on certain roads with filter gates installed which, if breached, can result in a fine.

But anti-LTN campaigners have been slammed for vandalising the road measures, at a cost of £479,011 in London.

Hackney paid the highest bill, by far, for fixing and realigning cameras covering its LTNs last year.

One camera in Stoke Newington, installed in September 2021, has had to be replaced seven times.

Councillor Mete Coban, Hackney’s cabinet member for environment and transport, told LBC: “It’s very frustrating because we have to spend a lot of taxpayer’s money on this as a result of a few people that are continuously reoffending.

“I’m angry for the people of Hackney because we’re having to cough up this money that we could be spending elsewhere. We’re in a cost-of-living crisis and we’re wasting money on this.

“We’re working with the police to track down the people who do it – we know who they are, it’s a small group of people that keep doing it.”

Last week, the Mayor of London scored what he described as a ‘landmark victory’ when the High Court ruled that his plan to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to cover all of London was lawful.

LTNs set on fire in Rochdale

Members of his own party have urged him to rethink certain elements of the plan, particularly when it comes to mitigating the financial impact of it.

Sadiq Khan says extra support is being made available for low-income families, small businesses and charities.

The Conservative Mayoral candidate Susan Hall said she’d turn off the ULEZ cameras in the Outer London boroughs ‘on day one of being Mayor’.

While the Reform UK candidate, Howard Cox, who is also the founder of the Fair Fuel UK campaign, told LBC he’d scrap ULEZ altogether and find a way to get rid of LTNs across the city.

He said: “The whole policy is wrong. There are too many anti-driver policies and this is a classic example of that. The taxpayer is paying for the reparations of things that we don’t need to have in place.

“This level of vandalism – do you not think the government has got the message yet, that people don’t want these? People are going to continue to do it. I don’t agree with vandalism, I agree with democracy and the ballot box, but it’s only going to go on and on and get worse.”

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