‘We need more Hackneys’: Borough sees biggest drop in motor vehicle use of anywhere in London, according to new report

Low traffic neighbourhoods came in for praise. Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney tops the charts in moving away from motor vehicles in London, with a 37 per cent drop in the decade from 2010, according to cycling campaigners.

London Cycling Campaign (LCC) praised the council’s work in creating “climate-safe streets”.

The borough is one of six in the capital considered most at risk of the worst impacts of the earth heating up, including extreme weather.

LCC said “we need more Hackneys” in London to cut emissions and combat the climate emergency.

The group’s new report, Climate Safe Streets – One Year On, One Year to Go, highlighted progress across the city.

It comes after the World Meteorological Organisation warned that the world’s global warming threshold of 1.5 degrees celsius is likely to be breached in the next four years.

Camden, Waltham Forest and Lambeth were also praised by LCC for taking the greatest strides to make streets greener.

Tower Hamlets was the only borough to see an increase in car use, with a four per cent rise.

Image: courtesy LCC

Simon Munk, head of LCC campaigns, said: “Action or inaction on climate also has a direct impact on every other crisis the city faces.”

LCC said inner London boroughs like Hackney have “surged ahead in delivering on active travel, emissions and road danger reduction – they were moving fast before the pandemic and delivery appears to have, if anything, accelerated”.

It called on councils to speed up their climate-friendly policies, including those outer London authorities challenging the ULEZ extension zones through the courts.

The group added: “It is clear that we need a lot more Hackneys, Camdens and Waltham Forests and that means Brent, Greenwich and Richmond really getting their skates on in the next three years.”

LCC warned that dangerous increases in global temperatures means “we have three years for every London council to really start delivering – the clock is ticking”.

Whilst praising Hackney as an “exemplar”, the campaigners urged Town Hall bosses to stay on track by “accelerating action on main roads and junctions for safety and decarbonisation and focus on children’s travel”.

They also want to see the council’s housing estates made more accessible for cyclists.

Plans to increase the number of School Streets from 49 to 60 by 2025 won praise, but LCC is calling for more progress on “wider routes to school”.

The controversial low traffic neighbourhoods and more places to park bikes securely also pleased campaigners.

Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We are delighted to be recognised for our climate-safe streets – and proud of our record of supporting people to walk and cycle through School Streets, new low traffic neighbourhoods and the rollout of thousands of secure cycle parking spaces.”

He pledged: “This work will continue over the coming years as we look to make more of Hackney low traffic, green grey areas on our streets and create a greener, healthier Hackney for everyone.”

Rob Whitehead, director of strategic development at think tank Centre for London, said leaders across the capital need to get on track to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“If they don’t, more Londoners will die or get seriously harmed on the roads,” he said. “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.”