Road closures that form part of new plans to encourage cycling and walking could result in traffic issues elsewhere, a senior Brent councillor admitted.
Cllr Shama Tatler, who is responsible for regeneration, property, and planning at Brent Council, suggested there could be increased congestion in these areas as drivers get used to new road layouts.
The council has introduced several road closures across the borough to discourage car use and help create ‘healthy neighbourhoods’.
Examples include schemes in Tokyngton and Wembley Central – recently highlighted as areas with high pollution levels – but those living in these wards suggest the new measures have had an adverse effect.
One objector, Sneha Patel, said the road closures have “led to a higher concentration of vehicles on the already congested Wembley High Road” and she urged the council to rethink its decision.
“As a local resident, I am concerned that air quality will only get worse for residents because of this scheme,” she said.
“[The council] have had decades to act on this congestion problem and only now are reacting in a way that will impact local people more negatively.”
Cllr Tatler – despite acknowledging teething problems attached to these projects – believes they will ultimately have a positive impact on Brent.
She said: “Nearby streets may experience a temporary increase in traffic as people adapt to the changes, however evidence from other areas of London shows that these low traffic measures often results in an overall reduction in traffic, with people opting to walk and cycle rather than taking the car.
“That’s a really exciting prospect, for people’s health and for the improvements we should see in air quality over the longer term.”