17 September 2018
Labour-led Lambeth Council slammed for ‘lacklustre’ and ‘obstructive’ response to Car Free Day
In an astonishing admission Labour-led Lambeth Council has admitted that it has not promoted the idea of communities organising their own road closures on Car Free Day - and those that do may be charged £150 for road closure signs.
‘Car Free Day’ is an annual, global event on 22nd September which sees towns and cities closing roads to traffic and putting on special public events in an effort to change behaviour and attitudes to tackle deadly air pollution.
For a similar project on 13th May, Cardiff closed its entire city centre . By comparison, Lambeth will be closing Windmill Street. Residents will be allowed to close their individual streets, if each street’s residents are collectively willing to pay an expected £150 for each closure.
The news was uncovered by Green Group leader Cllr Jonathan Bartley. In a response to his enquiry about the Council’s plans for the Day he was told: “Lambeth has not promoted the idea of communities organising their own road closures on Car Free Day.
“The organisers… have to meet the cost of physically closing the road. In common with the underlying philosophy of cooperative councils they are welcome to make their own arrangements, and we tell them how to go about this by directing them to the independent Street Party website.
“If they choose to use the council’s contractor to close the road they are charged what the contractor charges us. Because we changed our contractor in June and no organiser has yet asked for a quotation I cannot advise what the cost will be, but last year it was £150”. 
Cllr Jonathan Bartley commented “At best this is a another lacklustre failure of political leadership. At worst it is downright obstructive. Lambeth faces an air pollution crisis, but once again the Labour council is failing on the most basic things when it comes to dirty air - despite last months clear evidence of the situation worsening. 
“Not only are residents apparently provided with no other support other than a weblink to the council’s street party website, they are also billed when they show initiative.
“Car Free Day seems little more than an afterthought to Lambeth’s Labour cabinet, despite The Mayor of London urging local boroughs to make a ‘huge success’ of it.'  The council should stop penalising residents who want to do the right thing, waive the charges immediately and support local people who want clean air to breathe.”
 Response to Jonathan Bartley’s members enquiry, 6th September 2018