After receiving praise and recognition for delivering air quality improvements at the international Ashden Awards last night (Wednesday 3 July) Waltham Forest Council has announced plans to extend successful schemes.
The council’s Enjoy Waltham Forest programme received acclaim at the sustainability charity’s annual award ceremony securing the Clean Air in Cities and Towns award for the authority’s work in enhancing the borough’s road network and improving air quality by creating less congested neighbourhoods, building more than 26km of segregated cycle lanes, constructing 15 new pocket parks and planting in excess of 700 new trees.
The award ceremony took place during the first ever Climate Action Week in London which has seen organisations sharing their knowledge and experiences of making an impact on climate change. Following the win the council is announcing plans to extend the Enjoy Waltham Forest schemes along Markhouse Road, Forest Road and Woodford New Road – to provide better and safer journeys for all road users.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We’ve always known that our efforts to encourage our residents to use more sustainable transport were pioneering, however for this to be recognised on an international scale through the Ashden Awards is a huge accolade.
“We want to inspire more local authorities up and down the country and across the world to make a real investment in supporting their local community to walk, cycle, scoot and even skate more, and invest in good quality public transport. We know that safer, less congested residential roads, where those using modes of active travel are prioritised, can make a significant positive difference on the quality of life, including physical and mental health, of our residents.
“This is why this week we’re announcing our plans to extend some of the excellent schemes we’ve built so far in order to create a more connected and greener network for our residents to travel on.”
Last year a report by King’s College London found that the air quality improvements made through the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme had significantly contributed to extending the life expectancy of children born in Waltham Forest since 2013 by up to six weeks, and the additional health benefits of more active lifestyles also contributed to adding another six to seven weeks of life expectancy for residents. A report by Air Quality Consultants also found that in 2007 there were more than 56,000 households in the borough exposed to more than the EU recommended amount of Nitrogen Dioxide, which had reduced by 90 per cent in 2017, to just 6,300 households.
Harriet Lamb, CEO of Ashden said: “The outstanding organisations that make up our roster of 2019 winners are truly inspirational, bringing much-needed solutions to the table. Their practical but clever and economically feasible innovations are just what we need to address the climate emergency. People are feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the emergency; but these organisations have all shown the face of the possible; now we need to get behind them, scale up the solutions and make them the new norm.”
The extended schemes will see the amount of segregated cycle lanes in the borough increase to more than 30 kilometres as well as more improved crossings and junctions for all road users.
As a planning application is submitted to redevelop the Town Hall campus in Forest Road, the council is examining plans to improve the road between the Bell junction and Wood Street. Plans include upgrading the existing cycle tracks to include lanes on both sides of the road, new greening and priority access to the campus for pedestrians. Developers for the campus which will include housing, retail and office space, will be expected to ensure that sustainable modes of transport are prioritise as part of the plans.
As work is finalised this summer on the Lea Bridge Road, a street for everyone scheme – the new cycleway 23, the council is announcing that it is extending the scheme along Woodford New Road to the Waterworks roundabout, providing segregated cycle lanes which will enable cyclists to safely approach the A406 underpass.
And finally following the successful delivery of the Leyton to Blackhorse route in 2017, this summer the council is planning to extend the segregated cycle lane on both sides of Markhouse Road to connect into the improvements on Lea Bridge Road.
Only last week Waltham Forest Council won Local Authority of the Year at the MJ awards, and last month scooped Transport for Planning award at the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation Awards for the improvements made to Francis Road in Leyton through the Enjoy Waltham Forest Programme.