Islington crowned top borough with healthiest streets but cyclist casualties cause concern

People Friendly Streets in Highbury Fields

People Friendly Streets in Highbury Fields - Credit: Chris Kenyon

Islington's environment and transport chief has expressed "delight" after it was ranked the leading London borough for "Healthy Streets" action.

Healthy Streets Coalition, which contains transport and health groups, used a scorecard system to rank London boroughs based on indicators such as low traffic neighbourhoods, bike routes, and road casualties. 

Islington was ranked the borough with the healthiest streets, followed by Hackney. The City of London, which is not technically a borough, rated even higher on the scorecard however, but the district is not considered comparable as it is not primarily a residential district. 

People Friendly Streets in Islington are designed to improve the roads for pedestrians and cyclists

Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Islington are designed to improve the roads for pedestrians and cyclists but a Healthy Streets coalition says cyclist safety needs to be improved. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “We’re determined to create a greener, cleaner, healthier Islington, as part of our commitment to creating a fairer Islington, and a net zero carbon borough by 2030.

“At the heart of our ambition is our work to create people-friendly streets, making it easier than ever to walk and cycle, improve air quality, and make roads safer.  Also vital are our School Streets, which create a much better environment outside the school gate, bring real benefits to schools, parents and children, and make it easier to walk, scoot and cycle to school.


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“We’re delighted to be the top-scoring London borough on the Healthy Streets Scorecard and will keep working hard to deliver more people-friendly streets, School Streets and other work to make our streets healthier and better for all.”

The latest Health Streets Scorecard, released annually, reveals more than a third of Islington's streets are now in its seven LTNs and 40 per cent of schools have School Streets, where traffic is restricted around schools at arrival and departure times.

The scorecard was published on July 6 alongside a new map showing all London's LTNs, new and old

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The London Boroughs Healthy Streets Scorecard sets out data to show the health of each borough’s streets according to nine indicators.

It is created by a coalition of transport, health, road safety and environment organisations which include London Living Streets, CPRE London, Sustrans in London, RoadPeace, London Cycling Campaign, Future Transport London, Possible and Wheels for Wellbeing.

Reporting on Islington’s Scorecard performance, the coalition said: “Islington has made impressive improvements to come top of the Scorecard for Inner London Boroughs."

Almost every Islington road, 97pc, now has a 20mph speed limit and parking is controlled in all streets. 

The Healthy Streets coalition added: "However, the 'resident roamer scheme' allows residents to park anywhere within the borough during a four-hour time period, this continues to encourage car journeys within Islington and needs to be replaced with small-area controlled parking zones.

“One area of concern for Islington is that only 4pc of roads have protected cycle lanes compared to leaders Waltham Forest (12pc) and City of London (over 20pc).

"Islington's regular cycling rate is only 6.3pc, roughly half that of neighbouring Hackney (12pc) and safety is a concern."

According to travelindependent.org, in Islington almost 50 cyclists died or were seriously injured on the borough's streets in 2018, whereas in neighbouring Hackney the number was about 35. 

The coalition added: "The cyclist casualty rate needs urgent attention. Islington needs to work with TfL to improve safety for cyclists on main roads if the target of zero serious or fatal casualties is to be met.

“In future, we want to see Islington install much more protected cycle track, more LTNs and more School Streets, including for secondary schools, and for the borough to catch up with neighbouring Hackney where 55pc of suitable roads are within an LTN, compared to Islington’s 36pc.

“Islington has the lowest car ownership rate of all 33 London local authorities and a very high proportion (85pc) of trips are made sustainably via public transport, walking and cycling."

To see how other boroughs scored visit  www.healthystreetsscorecard.london

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