Islington Council can today announce that it is introducing a new people-friendly streets neighbourhood exemption, to make it easier to travel for disabled people who need to drive.
To support its efforts to create a more equal borough, the council has so far introduced seven people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, making it easier to walk, cycle, scoot, and use buggies and wheelchairs as environmentally-friendly alternatives to driving.
Monitoring data and resident feedback reflects the positive impact of the neighbourhoods so far. Traffic fell within all of the neighbourhoods within their first 12 months, and air quality improved in each neighbourhood and on surrounding boundary roads between 2019 and 2021.
Since December 2021, the council has introduced exemptions in each of its people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, which more than 1,000 Blue Badge holders are benefitting from. This exemption allows Blue Badge holders living in or on a road surrounding a people-friendly streets neighbourhood to nominate a single motor vehicle to be exempt from camera-enforced traffic filters in their home people-friendly streets neighbourhood.
As part of its commitment to creating a more equal borough, and to take on board the valuable feedback it has received, the council can today announce that it is introducing a new “Individual Exemption”, which complements the existing policy.
From today, people who – due to a disability or chronic health condition – experience considerable physical difficulty or overwhelming psychological distress when extending or re-routing car trips can apply for an Individual Exemption. The exemption allows a single motor vehicle to pass through camera-enforced traffic filters in all of Islington’s people-friendly streets neighbourhoods. Applicants do not need to have a Blue Badge, or live in a people-friendly streets neighbourhood.
The Individual Exemption is being introduced on a trial basis, so that the council can listen carefully to and take on board resident feedback while people are applying for and using the exemption. From today, local people are able to fill in a trial feedback form, which will remain open for at least 12 weeks. Further information on the policy can be found on the council’s website, where local people can also fill in an application form for an exemption.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport, said: “People-friendly streets neighbourhoods are helping to make Islington a cleaner, greener, healthier place, where it’s easier to walk, cycle, scoot and use buggies and wheelchairs.
“Islington’s streets are for everyone, and we know that some people are unable to switch from cars to more sustainable modes of transport. So far, more than 1,000 people are benefitting from our Blue Badge exemption, which makes travelling in people-friendly streets neighbourhoods easier for those who need to drive.
“As part of our commitment to creating a more equal Islington, we’ve introduced a new Individual Exemption policy, to make it easier for disabled people and people with health conditions to travel in people-friendly streets neighbourhoods. We’re looking forward to seeing the benefits this brings, and to hearing local people’s feedback.”
The council is continuing to strive to make Islington’s streets more environmentally-friendly, to help tackle the climate emergency. Currently, the council is working on long-term plans to create Liveable Neighbourhoods, which will help make it easier to walk and cycle, and will make communities more pleasant through improvements such as cycle routes, better crossings, and improved public spaces to remove barriers to cycling.
The new Individual Exemption policy will apply in all of Islington’s Liveable Neighbourhoods, as well as in all existing and future people-friendly streets neighbourhoods.
All Liveable Neighbourhoods will be subject to extensive consultation and engagement with local people before being introduced. It’s anticipated that the introduction of Liveable Neighbourhoods will begin during the 2023/2024 financial year.