London boroughs urged to clear pavements of clutter

Street clutter London

London’s transport watchdog has called on boroughs across the Capital to ‘follow Transport for London’s lead’ and clear their pavements of unlawful obstructions.

London TravelWatch, ‘the voice of London’s travel users’, made the call as it published a map based on its latest observations of the streets controlled by local councils, focussing on how obstructed they are.

The map shows four boroughs (Barnet, Hackney, Greenwich and Kingston) to be ‘good’, while more than half have their pavements rated ‘badly obstructed’.

In November, TfL announced that it had issued almost 300 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) as part of an initiative designed to ensure that pavements are kept free from ‘clutter’ that could cause injury to pedestrians.

Launched in March 2015, Operation Clearway is part of TfL’s commitment to making it easier and more enjoyable to walk around London, particularly for the elderly and disabled.

Although every London council has a duty under Section 130 of the Highways Act 1980 to keep their pavements clear of obstructions and councils have various powers to enforce against non-compliance, the watchdog says only a handful do this ‘properly’.

Transport Network reports that London TravelWatch is set to name and shame boroughs that don’t take their legal duties seriously.

Stephen Locke, chair of London TravelWatch, said: “This is not acceptable in London, a city with such busy pavements and where public policy is to get more of us walking more often.

“We are really proud of our role in changing Transport for London’s stance on unlawful obstructions and it has been great to see them start to enforce a zero policy regime in this area.

“But the London boroughs have to do the same. London TravelWatch will be campaigning on this issue and naming and shaming the boroughs that won’t take their legal duties seriously over the coming months.”

05 January 2017