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Two Hackney town centres could close to through-traffic in face of violent hostility from small minority

Councillor was sent death threats over support for low traffic neighbourhoods

Two of Hackney’s main shopping areas could be closed to through-traffic as the council seeks to deliver a greener borough. The announcement comes in the week that the councillor pushing the plans revealed he had received death threats over his support for low traffic neighbourhoods.

Hackney is committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2040. With just 30 per cent of Hackney households owning a car, low traffic neighbourhoods have become a major focus of attempts to deliver this.

Newly proposed measures would, subject to funding bids, see traffic filters introduced on Amhurst Road in Hackney Central and on Stoke Newington Church Street.

These would continue to allow motor vehicle access to homes and businesses, but would restrict the through-traffic that causes pollution and congestion on each road.

Almost half the motor vehicles on Hackney streets are not residents, but only passing through.

Councillor Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, said: “Our plans to rebuild a greener Hackney – through quieter, safer streets, new protected cycle lanes and cycle parking and expanded cycle training schemes – will support people who would normally take the bus or train to walk and cycle instead, especially as capacity on local buses remains at only 40% of pre-lockdown levels.

“In doing so, we can help secure the kind of city we witnessed during lockdown, with cleaner air, less traffic and higher levels of walking and cycling.

“If just a fraction of people who used to use public transport return to their cars, it will exacerbate the air quality and road safety crisis we already had before lockdown, and prevent the 70% of Hackney residents who don’t own a car from getting around safely. These plans are aimed at reducing this clear danger, and creating a better Hackney for everyone.”

Burke is frequently confronted with angry objections to such plans on social media and yesterday tweeted one letter he had received in which the writer had made death threats.

The letter has been handed to police.

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