Barking and Dagenham gets lowly ranking for 'healthy streets'

A black cab pumps exhaust fumes into the atmosphere at Vauxhall Cross in south London.

The Healthy Streets Scorecard wants to see Barking and Dagenham reduce car ownership in the borough - Credit: PA

Barking and Dagenham has been rated as London's second-worst authority for delivering healthier and more sustainable travel.

The borough ranked 32nd in the 2022 Healthy Streets Scorecard, which assesses a number of areas including Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) and car ownership.

The data is published every year by a coalition of transport, health, road safety and environmental groups.

It praised the council for introducing more School Streets schemes but said: "Other measures to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists are still lacking."

The scorecard said the area of LTNs in Barking and Dagenham as a proportion of the total area it deemed suitable for LTNs is "very low" at five per cent, and added that the borough has not introduced boroughwide 20mph speed limits.

It said the borough scores highly for the proportion of highly polluting cars and wants to see car ownership reduced.

The Healthy Streets coalition added: "It would be good to see solid plans for the measures needed to meet the Mayor of London’s Local Implementation Plan target to reduce car trips to 28pc of daily trips by 2041."

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The borough has fallen down the pecking order in each year of the scorecard, from 25th in 2019.

A council spokesperson said: “The council’s new draft Local Plan and cycling and walking strategy sets out our ambitious plans for improving active travel, creating more healthy streets and expanding our successful school streets programme across the borough."

But they said the authority is "dependent" on Transport for London's Local Implementation Plan to do this and is waiting for confirmation of a settlement for 2022-24.   

The council also plans to outline a new Healthy Streets programme once it has secured further funding.

The spokesperson added: “We are currently examining the case for rolling out wider 20mph ambitions to supplement the comprehensive network of residential roads already with 20mph limits.

“We are working hard to provide alternatives to car use and are also rolling out a programme of new electric vehicle charging points."

Residents are also encouraged to respond to the consultation on expanding the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

"The council is currently balancing the impacts of an additional charge on working people while seeking to improve air quality and encourage the transition to electric vehicles.” 

The Healthy Streets coalition wants to see councils implement measures such as boroughwide LTNs and 20mph speed limits to "dramatically improve air quality, reduce road danger, boost active lifestyles and reduce carbon emissions".