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The Oval LTN is Creating Social and Health Inequality

The Oval LTN is shifting traffic from certain residential roads and onto roads with a high number of schools on them, choking these areas with pollution in the process, We don't believe this is fair.


It is now well established that the highest pollution levels are found near the busy roads in urban areas. In London, pollution concentrations are 2 - 3 times higher near busy roads compared to background locations, and Lambeth has long had a particular problem with this. Motor vehicles emit large amounts of fine soot and toxic substances including nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide which have serious consequences for both short term and long term health. Children living and attending schools near busy roads are particularly at risk because pollution levels are known to be higher the closer you get to the ground.





Both prenatal and postnatal exposure to traffic related air pollution have been shown to have a negative impact on lung development. This is not surprising as the lungs of children continue to develop until they are about 7 years of age. Pollution is also related to increased morbidity in children and adults with underlying lung conditions such as asthma. Although asthma-related deaths in children are thankfully rare, air pollution is associated with acute asthma attacks and hospital admissions. This has serious consequences for overall quality of life in childhood. Perhaps even more concerning is that air pollution has a negative impact on neurodevelopment in children.



A school on Harleyford Road, June 28th 2020



Although low traffic neighbourhoods are designed to created cleaner air for the public, their design and implementation is important. The creation of Lambeth’s Oval Triangle Low Traffic Neighourhood (LTN) has caused a lot of concern amongst local residents. The traffic flow on surrounding boundary roads and residential streets is now greater, made worse by the fact that this area is also a congestion charge boundary.



Harleyford Road, 26th July, 3:30PM


The Implementation by Lambeth Council appears to have been rapid & with no proper public consultation or impact assessment. There are more than five schools that lie right on the boundary roads of this LTN. Overlay of typical post LTN rush-hour road traffic maps with deprivation mapping from 2019 shows that the increased traffic flow mainly affects schools and residences in more deprived areas. This poorly-planned LTN means that a great many children in Lambeth will be subjected to higher pollution and potential harm on their way to and from school.


We should all be working towards cleaner air but there must be health and social equality. All children need to breathe.




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