Living Wightman Comments on Haringey Draft Transport Strategy

Haringey has recently been consulting on its Draft Transport Strategy  (see Living Wightman submitted the following comments:

The draft strategy borrows heavily from recent Mayoral/ Greater London strategies but needs to have a more Haringey-centred view. To be effective, the strategy must recognise the implications of an obvious fact about Haringey’s geographical situation and consequent impact on transport – that many people live in outer boroughs, but work in, or want to visit, inner boroughs (including Haringey itself).

Much of our traffic is therefore “through traffic”. Haringey is virtually a box enclosed by red routes that run round the edge and much of our problems arise because of drivers seeking to find ways through the middle instead of staying on those main roads. The council’s recent transport study in the Green Lanes area found that over 50% of traffic is not local – not local residents or business employees, or residents’ visitors or customers of the businesses. A significant proportion of Haringey traffic as a whole is also not local – it is vehicles driving say between Enfield or Barnet or further afield, and Islington or Hackney or more central locations.

One implication of this is that many measures to promote active travel will have limited effect – they might encourage a few Haringey residents to walk or cycle rather than use the car, but will have no effect on non-Haringey residents. However there are measures which the council has the power to implement, for example by modal filtering to eliminate rat running, and restricting road capacity (except for buses), Haringey’s roads will become less attractive to both local and non-local traffic.

Specific comments:

1.       Where we want to be in 2026 (page 7)

·        “That more journeys will be taken by walking and cycling than by using a car”

Comment: We understand the modal share of active travel  (3% of journeys are by cycle and 37% by walking) is already higher than by car. We suggest a better target might be something like “to reduce the number of car journeys by 20% overall by 2020” and/or “to increase the modal share of cycling to 10% by 2020”. The targets also need to be time-based in a way that is meaningful for councillors and officers currently in post – targets for 2026 are just too far in the future to be effective in influencing current decisions. There need to be targets for 1, 3 and 5 years ahead.

2.       The four “Outcomes” (page 7):

·        “Outcome 1 - A public transport network that is better connected, has greater capacity and is more accessible, supporting our growth ambitions

·        Outcome 2 - Active travel the easier choice, with more people choosing to travel by walking or cycling 

·        Outcome 3 - An improved air quality and a reduction in carbon emissions from transport

·        Outcome 4 - A well maintained road network that is less congested and saferIt would better reflect Mayoral/TfL strategy”

Comment: We suggest it would better reflect Mayoral/TfL priorities if the active travel outcome - Outcome 2 - was listed first.

3.       Transport Geography diagram (page 8):

Comment: The diagram shows a dotted line along Wightman Road which the key indicates is part of a “Green Grid” for cyclists and pedestrians. Note that Wightman Road currently has a traffic flow of well over 1000 vehicle movements per hour for most of the day (actually higher than some neighbouring A-roads such as Turnpike Lane), as there are no restrictions on vehicles using the Harringay Ladder “rungs” as a rat run to avoid Green Lanes. This level of traffic discourages walking and cycling. We would welcome measures such as modal filtering of Wightman Road which would then facilitate its use as a Quietway and part of the “Green Grid”.

4.       Outcome 1 priorities (page 8)

·        “To increase connectivity, capacity and accessibility on our road and public transport networks to support our regeneration and growth ambitions for businesses, housing and jobs”

Comment: The capacity of the road network should not be increased (unless purely for the purpose of public transport), this will merely induce more traffic.

5.       Outcome 2 Priorities (page 9)

·        “increasing the use of electric vehicles and car sharing schemes”

Comment: Increasing electric vehicle use and car sharing does not promote active travel. This priority belongs under Outcome 3 (improved air quality). Also note that since the majority (60%) of Haringey residents do not own a car, promoting car sharing may increase car use rather than decrease it. Also note that although electric vehicles may decrease NOx gas emissions (a) they still contribute to pollution and climate change elsewhere (where the electricity is generated) and (b) they may increase particulate pollution since electric vehicles are heavier (batteries are heavier than fuel tanks). Petrol and particularly diesel cars need to be reduced, but electric vehicles are not a “silver bullet”.

We would like to see some specific measurable goals for the active travel outcome. For example, under Key Facts it states “Just under 40% of vehicle movements in Haringey could be replaced by cycling” – so what is the target level of replacement by cycling in 1, 3 and 5 years time? Specific targets should also be set for specific underrepresented cycling groups such as women, children and older people.

6.       Outcome 4 Priorities (page 10)

·        “To minimise the use of our back streets as ‘rat runs’.”

Comment: The strategy should be to eliminate (e.g. by modal filtering) rather than minimise (e.g. by width restrictions or right turn bans etc.). We note the Council has recently decided not to minimise rat running in the Harringay Ladder (an area of 13,000 residents currently blighted by excessive traffic) – which could be eliminated by modal filtering of Wightman Road.

7.       Comment: The strategy should clearly state the council’s policy as regards the borough’s willingness to bear the burden imposed by traffic that wishes to use its roads purely as routes for private vehicles to pass through.

8.       Comment: The strategy should include concrete data about the dimensions of roads in the borough and their suitability/capacity for carrying traffic. If a road such as Wightman Road is not wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic without pavement parking, then it should not be expected to carry over 1000 vehicles per hour. The strategy should state that meaningful measures should be taken to significantly reduce the traffic flow in these circumstances.

9.       Comment: Population growth is mentioned on page 6 but only the projections for Haringey itself. The strategy also needs to take account of the projected population growth not just in Haringey, but also the even higher projections for neighbouring boroughs such as Enfield and Barnet (plus the higher levels of car ownership in those boroughs), and the potential adverse impact of this on Haringey residents if our roads continue to be fully accessible to through traffic.

10.   Comment: The strategy should be clear that any new housing in the borough will be provided with zero car parking spaces other than for disabled or designated car-sharing spaces; but should have sufficient high quality cycle parking provision.

Effect of Wightman Road Filtering on Haringey Air Quality


Haringey has long been declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) because of pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). Councils with AQMAs are required to monitor pollution levels, and produce action plans to tackle the causes. The following table uses Haringey Council’s website data (see Appendix), and shows the percentage change in NO2 levels at various monitoring sites between 2015 and 2016 (some recently closed or newly opened sites are not listed since comparison between years is not possible).


Figures in green indicate decreased pollution, figures in red indicate an increase, compared to the previous year. Although N02 dispersion is a complex phenomenon and the monitoring equipment itself is not 100% reliable, the year-on-year monthly figures provide evidence that filtering Wightman Road, after the initial disruption, actually had a widespread overall positive effect on pollution:
  • The Wightman Road closures initially caused disruption and traffic congestion in April so one would expect higher pollution, and this is evidenced e.g. by the 35% increase in April 2016 compared to April 2015 at site HR27 (Green Lanes). The disruption can be attributed to factors such as initial signage issues which the Council later corrected, or traffic light phases no longer matching the flow at key junctions. Also as above, most traffic is through-traffic, and most drivers are not local, so would rely entirely on signage to be aware of the new road layout (the Council obviously did consult and leaflet the local community about the changes, but most through-traffic would not have been aware of that). 
  • Congestion improved slowly but significantly through May and June, so one would expect the increased pollution also to subside, again this is evidenced by the fact that the June column in the above table is highlighted mostly in yellow rather than the red seen in previous months. The improvement took many weeks, again partly because so much traffic is non-local, but also because of other major changes in surrounding transport network at this time - for example, the extensive roadworks at Finsbury Park & Stroud Green Road affected bus and other journeys along Seven Sisters Road, and the closure of the GOBLIN (Gospel Oak – Barking line) would have put significant additional pressure on both public and private transport using Seven Sisters Road and other east-west routes. 
  • The SDG consultants calculated an 8% “evaporation” of traffic between March and June, but the pollution evidence in August, when most sites are highlighted green to indicate reduced pollution compared to 2015, suggests that the “evaporation” process was still continuing during the summer. There may be other causes of the reduced pollution but the fact that by now it is now much more attractive to make journeys by cycling or walking or public transport, is highly likely to be one of them. 
  • The bridge re-opened and the Wightman Road barriers were lifted in early September however the reduced pollution relative to 2015 actually continues into October/November. Again, as so much traffic is non-local and took several months to switch to alternative routes or transport modes, it is not surprising to see it take a few more months before everyone realises the rat-run is now open again. 
  • However by December it seems the traffic is just as bad if not worse than was at the beginning of the year, and pollution actually now worse relative to December 2015.


As stated above NO2 pollution is a complex phenomenon and we have to be cautious trying to draw definitive conclusions, however there does seem to be strong evidence in favour of the assertion that filtering Wightman Road, after an initial disruptive period of adjustment to surrounding traffic flows, within a few months actually had an overall beneficial effect on pollution levels across a much wider area; and no evidence at all for the idea that the many other benefits of filtering Wightman were only bought at the expense of making pollution worse elsewhere.
In fact if filtering Wightman had originally been a Council initiative as part of its Air Quality Management Plan, we think they would now be shouting the results from the rooftops!
We are therefore urging the Council to continue developing the Wightman Filtering package of options developed by the Transport Study, rather than its currently preferred solution of “Minor Improvements”, which is not expected to have a significant effect on the traffic and pollution issues which prompted the Transport Study in the first place.

Appendix: Haringey pollution data

The following tables show the actual pollution levels at each of Haringey’s monitoring locations. The EU and UK target levels for NO2 are 40mg/m3, so levels below this are highlighted in green and levels above in gradually darker shades of red:

2015 figures taken from p27 of Haringey Council website here, 2016 figures taken from p26 of Haringey Council website here.

61% of Harringay Ladder Households Support Filtering Wightman Road

Hello Living Wightman Supporters!

We’d like to thank everyone who completed the council’s online survey to show support for filtering Wightman Road. The council's consultants' report of the full results has been posted on HarringayOnline here and show that, overall, a 50.3% 
majority of respondents supported filtering Wightman Road (388/771 responses):

On the Ladder itself, a clear majority of 61% of households support filtering Wightman Road (279/456 responses):

The participation rate in the rest of the Study Area (i.e. the Gardens, St Anns and Hermitage areas, to the east of Green Lanes) was much lower, and those who did participate showed only 12% support for filtering Wightman (17/138 responses):

Outside the Study Area (i.e. households in the rest of Haringey, or in neighbouring boroughs), there was a majority of 52% in favour of filtering (92/177):

So a huge thanks to everyone who helped by distributing leaflets, campaigning on social media, spreading the word to friends and neighbours and of course by completing the survey!

Unfortunately the campaign is not over, as we understand the council currently proposes to ignore the majority view. Instead, the council plans to further develop some of the options in the "Minor Improvements" package, comprising in the short term a trial of reversing the one-way direction of Warham Road, and investigating the feasibility of moving parking off Wightman Road pavements and onto the road.

Some of the "Minor Improvements" options are desirable, but even taken together they would not solve the fundamental problem of excessive traffic - over 114,000 vehicle journeys per week (well over 1,000 vehicles per hour for most of the day), which is higher than on Turnpike Lane and several other local A-roads. Wightman Road would remain fully accessible to through traffic, and since Wightman Road has far fewer interruptions than Green Lanes, through traffic will continue to use Wightman, plus a Ladder “rung”, as a rat-run.

And so the campaign continues!

More Messages of support from London Assembly, and South Harringay Primary School Head

Hello Living Wightman Supporters!

Yesterday we posted some great statements of support for filtering Wightman Road here from campaign organisations Sustrans, Living Streets, Friends of the Earth and the London Cycling Campaign.

Today we are delighted to publish two more statements of support, this time from elected members of the GLA's London Assembly, both of whom sit on the Transport Committee so are responsible for examining the Mayor's and Transport for London (TfL) activities and strategies for the city's transport.

First, Caroline Pidgeon MBE, Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Transport Committee, sent us this message:

"I am persuaded that filtering could be achieved on Wightman Road at a reasonable cost, yet make a huge difference to thousands of residents in Harringay ward.
Sensible measures to tackle rat running by motorists and van drivers would make the road far more attractive for cyclists and pedestrians, help reduce air pollution and make the area far more attractive and safer for everyone.
Filtering puts people before cars and deserves to be taken forward."

Next, Caroline Russell, Deputy Chair of the Environment Committee and also a member of the Transport Committee, said:
"I completely support your campaign and agree with you that a one way system would be awful as it increases traffic speeds and community severance.
Very happy to come and visit after the election. Very best wishes and good luck!"

Local headteacher Ian Scotchbrook of South Harringay School had direct experience of filtering during the bridgeworks in 2016 and sent us this statement:

"Our school community experienced many tangible benefits during the period of the Wightman Road bridge works last year. There was a distinct reduction in noise and air pollution, and an all-round calmer feel to our everyday lives travelling to and from school. Perhaps my greatest joy as a Headteacher was seeing so many of our children playing and riding bikes with confidence after school, getting much needed exercise and taking advantage of the opportunity to feel less inhibited by constant traffic. It gave our area a greater sense of community. I feel the introduction of a traffic filtering system would lead to happier, healthier children at South Harringay School."

Please don't forget to show you support for filtering Wightman Road too - the council's survey can be found here: and closes this Sunday, 14th May 2017!

Who supports Living Wightman?

Hello Living Wightman supporters!

We've had some lovely messages of support from several organisations in the last few weeks and thought we'd share them with you - obviously our aim to put people first, not cars, resonates far wider than our few streets!

Please don't forget to show support for filtering Wightman by completing the council's survey here by Sunday 14th May. Meanwhile, we hope you'll be as inspired as we were by all our supporters' messages:

Sustrans: “It is fantastic that the local community is campaigning for the road filtering!! It really fills me with joy. Even more so as we have worked very closely with the community in Haringey over the years. We would be delighted to support in any way we can.” from German Dector-Vega, London Director, Sustrans

London Cycling Campaign: “Accepting ever more vehicles squeezed onto every possible road is what is causing congestion, pollution and inactivity crises. We urge Haringey Council to be bold, brave and move forward schemes that tackle motor traffic dominance, remove unnecessary through traffic and give residential streets back to the community. We want a future where kids can play out, neighbours can chat and more people can walk and cycle safely. Removing through traffic from Wightman Road, alongside approaches to controlling motor traffic volumes and speeds across the area, so other roads don’t just become the new Wightman, and enabling far more people to walk and cycle, should be a priority for Haringey Council. Not taking serious action, and failing to act on lethal pollution and inactivity, would be terrible.from Simon Munk, LCC Head of Infrastructure Campaigns

Living Streets: “Living Streets and the London Living Streets Group support Living Wightman in its campaign to reclaim Wightman Road for people. This narrow residential road is unsuitable for the large volume of traffic using it, currently over 114,000 vehicles per week. This is generating killer levels of pollution, with children most at risk. Nitrogen Dioxide is above EU legal limits. Worse still, given the high proportion of deprived households on Wightman Road, some of the poorest children in Haringey are paying the price for the convenience of motorists from other areas who were using Wightman Road as a rat run. A way must be found to end the status of Wightman Road as a through route and restrict access only to local traffic.from Jeremy Leach, Chair of London Living Streets

Friends of the EarthTottenham & Wood Green Friends of the Earth supports Living Wightman. Evidence shows that restricting road use to motor vehicles reduces overall traffic levels and so has multiple benefits. This includes reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, and encouraging cycling and walking with all the health and social benefits that they bring. We encourage Haringey Council and TfL to be bolder in their measures to cut traffic and create low-traffic area.from Quentin Given, Co-ordinator FoE Tottenham & Wood Green

Enfield Cycling Campaign: “We've been watching Wightman Road developments from over here with great interest and we fully support your aims! It's exciting to see your strong campaign to reclaim Wightman and surrounding streets for peoplefrom Clare Rogers, ECC Co-ordinator

Needless to say, the local borough group of the London Cycling Campaign has also been providing some hands-on help in getting the message out to the cyclists making thousands of journeys every week in our area. Thanks especially to Grant & Selena!

We've also had some messages of support from London Assembly Members Caroline Russell and Caroline Pidgeon, and local headteacher Ian Scotchbrook, please click here to read them.

New documents and data added to Living WIghtman website

Hello Living Wightman Supporters!
With only two weeks to go before the council's survey closes, we're trying to make sure all the information our supporters need is easily available on the website.

It really is vital - literally! - that we maximise support for filtering Wightman Road as it is the only option in the survey that will guarantee a permanent reduction in traffic on our residential streets.

The survey is a once in a generation - perhaps once in a lifetime - opportunity for us all to tell the Council what we want for our streets, our environment, the places we live and work.

The information added to the website includes:
Please let us know if there is any more information you'd like us to add!

Living Wightman's "Frequently Asked Questions"

Hello Living Wightman Supporters!

We have just published a few "Frequently Asked Questions" about Filtering Wightman Road:

Q1: Isn't it selfish to support Filtering Wightman Road?
Q2: What is wrong with “Minor Improvements” to Wightman Road?
Q3: Isn't Filtering Wightman Road an unrealistic option because it will cost too much to implement?
Q4: Won't Filtering Wightman Road just shift traffic onto Turnpike Lane, Green Lanes and into Crouch End?
Q5: Won't journey times become a nightmare if Wightman Road is Filtered?
Q6: Won’t Filtering Wightman Road make pollution worse elsewhere?
Q7: Won’t the local economy and businesses be affected if Wightman Road is Filtered?
Q8: Why won't making Wightman Road one-way halve traffic?
Q9: Isn’t supporting Filtering Wightman Road a “wasted vote”, since it will not receive support from other areas?
Q10: Is it possible to Filter Wightman Road when it is a classified B road?
Q11: How do I complete the survey to support the filtering of Wightman Road?
Q12 Aren't Green Lanes and Turnpike Lane "residential" too?

Please let us know if you would like to suggest any other questions and answers, or think any of our existing FAQs could be improved? You can contact us by email here, or via Facebook or Twitter.

WE ARE ALSO FUNDRAISING TO PRINT LEAFLETS AND RUN CAMPAIGN EVENTS. Please donate to the Living Wightman campaign by making a donation at our Just Giving page here.

Please Don’t Let The Council Make Our Traffic Even Worse!

Living Wightman campaigners will be delivering a leaflet to local households soon, the text of this is reproduced below. If you can help deliver leaflets please get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter; you can also make a donation via Just Giving to help us pay for the leaflets and other materials for campaign events. Thank you!

Please Don’t Let The Council Make Our Traffic Even Worse!

Haringey Council has been running a transport study, set up to reduce our excessive traffic burden. Over 114,000 vehicles a week on Wightman Road - higher than on Turnpike Lane and several other local A-roads!

We expect our councillors to protect residents from the accumulated bad effects of past decisions - we want traffic greatly reduced and nothing less will do. However, we are concerned the Council will

LCSP backs Wightman Filtering!

We are delighted to report that the traffic sub-committee of the Ladder Community Safety Partnership (LCSP - the umbrella group for Harringay's Residents' Associations and other local interest groups) has indicated that its preferred option for the future of Wightman Road is filtering. LCSP's recent letter to its members is reproduced in full below.
LCSP's support for Wightman filtering is great news - we also believe this is the only option guaranteed to permanently reduce traffic. We need as many people as possible to show their support for filtering - you can do this by completing the council's Green Lanes Area Transport Study survey here before Sunday 14th May - and please encourage your friends and neighbours to complete the survey too!

LCSP's letter to members:

Dear LCSP Member,
As you may be aware from the recent letter drop by Haringey Council we are coming to the point where the Green Lanes Area Traffic Study is finally about to

URGENT - PLEASE respond to Wood Green Area Action Plan

Hi everyone – this is so IMPORTANT, please read this document and download!

As many of you may know Haringey Council are planning major development for Wood Green Town Centre. This includes the creation of a “new primary route” for traffic to bypass the Wood Green Town Centre by funnelling traffic up and down Station Road and Mary Neuner Road. This will lead directly into Wightman Road and the Ladder.

The document here gives information, links and an email address for comments to Haringey Council; it also provides a cut off and post letter.


Please act and protect our streets from even more traffic!

Full details of the council's "action plan" are available here