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New Climate Safe Streets boroughs report

“One Year On, One Year To Go” Climate Safe Streets report shows gulf between boroughs on active travel and car use reduction scheme delivery.

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We launch a new report on borough and Mayoral progress on delivering ‘Climate Safe Streets’ – schemes to decarbonise roads transport, boost walking and cycling rates, and cut motor vehicle use.

This report names the boroughs doing best and worst on decarbonising their roads, with borough leaders one year into their current term and with the Mayor having one year to go in his. It tracks London’s progress by assessing action the boroughs and Mayor have taken in line with our Climate Safe Streets campaigning and makes use of key data on transport mode shift away from private motor vehicles over the last decade.

  • Hackney tops the list of all boroughs, with Camden, Waltham Forest and Lambeth close behind on delivery in current term and mode shift away from private motor vehicles prior to pandemic.
  • Tower Hamlets is the only London borough that has seen mode shift towards private motor vehicles prior to the pandemic, and has now elected a Mayor threatening to rip out ‘Climate Safe Streets’ schemes. Also at bottom of the delivery league are Bromley, Hillingdon and Bexley.
  • The Mayor of London is broadly on track for his ‘Vision Zero’ commitment to eliminate serious and fatal road collisions on London’s streets by 2041 (based on his trajectory pre-pandemic) but behind on delivering his ‘Net Zero’ climate commitment as it relates to roads transport. To achieve it, he’ll need to reduce car use more than seen during 2020 – the year of heaviest Covid lockdowns.

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Download the Climate Safe Streets: One Year On, One Year To Go report

“This report is a vital part of keeping up the pressure on all London’s leaders to do more to make London’s streets better for walking and cycling. If they don’t, more Londoners will die or get seriously harmed on the roads. Fewer of us will get the health benefits of walking and cycling. More will suffer from the blights of congestion and pollution. And we will have missed a hiding-in-plain-sight opportunity to tackle the climate emergency.”

Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Development, Centre for London.

Boroughs taking action

The four boroughs taking most action to deliver ‘Climate Safe Streets’ and furthest along on delivery against their local boroughs’ asks are.

1. Hackney

2. Camden

3. Waltham Forest

4. Lambeth

Hackney has long led on delivery on reducing motor vehicle use – between 2010 and 2019, the mode share of private motor vehicle use in the borough dropped by 37%, the highest fall among London boroughs. And that delivery accelerated at the start of the pandemic.

It’s also worth noting Waltham Forest’s levels of delivery on active travel are particularly high for outer London, in part due to its ‘mini-Holland’ funding, an approach now being rolled out at a national level. It saw the proportion of journeys done by motor vehicles drop by 19% in the decade pre-pandemic, with much of the shift coming after the point the first mini-Holland schemes went in.

Boroughs failing to deliver

Four boroughs are failing to deliver any real ‘Climate Safe Streets’ for residents in their boroughs. In descending order of mode shift away from private motor vehicles pre-pandemic, they are:

1. Tower Hamlets

2. Bromley

3. Hillingdon

4. Bexley

Tower Hamlets is the only London borough where a higher proportion of journeys were being made using private motor vehicles before the pandemic than a decade ago (mode share rose by over 4%). The inner London borough has very low levels of car ownership, but did nothing to constrain car use pre-pandemic. And since the local elections, Tower Hamlets has elected a Mayor on a manifesto of ‘reopening roads’ by removing active travel and car restriction schemes.

The remaining boroughs

Twelve further boroughs are significantly behind on delivering schemes asked for by our ‘Climate Safe Streets’ campaign (beyond the already-named bottom four). Of these, the leaders of both Greenwich and Kingston Upon Thames councils both made full commitments to London Cycling Campaign ‘asks’ prior to the local council elections but are thus far failing to deliver on those commitments. (Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Croydon, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea, Redbridge and Sutton are all significantly failing to deliver on Climate Safe Streets schemes).

This report provides specific recommendations to the leadership for each London borough to help them get on track delivering on roads transport emissions, against their climate emergency declarations – in London, only Bexley and Bromley appear to have not declared an ‘emergency’.

Mayoral delivery

As well as assessing the boroughs’ progress to delivering ‘Climate Safe Streets’, this report also assesses the Mayor’s progress.

The good news is the Mayor of London’s commitment to a ‘Vision Zero’ of eliminating serious and fatal collisions from London’s roads by 2041 is broadly on track (taking the trajectory from before the pandemic) – likely due to the roll-out of 20mph zones, active travel schemes and the Met Police’s increasing speed enforcement (the Met is due to enforce 1 million speeding offences annually by 2024). However, improvements to dangerous junctions remain slow to roll out, and the Mayor’s self-set target of making London ‘Net Zero’ on climate emissions by 2030, requiring a 27% cut in road km driven according to his team, is not on target. Vehicle km driven were rising pre-pandemic, private motor vehicle mode share was not coming down fast enough and patchy delivery by boroughs remains a serious issue.

This report recommends that the Mayor must accelerate his programme, particularly ensuring ULEZ expansion set for August is not delayed or weakened, get bolder on the schemes and roads he has direct powers over, and solve the current siloed working inside TfL in favour of schemes that deliver for buses and active travel.

“London must not be a postcode lottery for climate action or safe cycling and walking. We need a lot more boroughs delivering ‘Climate Safe Streets’ like Hackney and Waltham Forest and fewer, like Tower Hamlets and Bromley, failing to deliver as our new report shows. Every London council and the Mayor must deliver more streets fit for cycling, walking and children playing, and faster, if we’re to help London escape the grip of car dependency and the cost of living crisis. Our new ‘One Year On, One Year To Go’ report highlights what needs to be done, for future generations, and to make London now a better city today.”

 Simon Munk, Head of Campaigns, London Cycling Campaign


  • This report builds on past campaigns for both the 2021 Mayoral election and 2022 local council elections in London, where each potential council leader (for the main parties) was asked to commit to specific London Cycling Campaign ‘asks’ in their borough if elected.
  • 14 London council leaders elected made commitments to the campaign and the specific asks in their borough, including the new leader of Westminster City Council, and 2 further council leaders provided supportive statements for the campaign. The full list of asks and commitments is available at lcc.org.uk/climate on our borough pages, and in the report.
  • London Councils tracks broader progress on climate action by London’s borough councils, including when each council plans to make its own operations ‘net zero’ and when it plans to be carbon neutral as a borough (i.e. including all emissions generated by residents, workers, buildings in the borough etc.). Only Bexley and Bromley appear not to have declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ thus far, with boroughs including Barnet and Havering have declared one recently.
  • The Mayor and TfL have produced numerous reports on ‘Healthy Streets’ delivery and climate emissions. Key ones referenced here include TfL’s Analysis of Cycling Potential that shows a majority of motorised journeys could be done in London by other modes relatively easily, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy commitments to 80% of journeys being walked, cycled or on public transport by 2041 at the latest and the Mayor’s Pathways to Net Zero Carbon by 2030 report.


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