The High Court has dismissed a claim for judicial review, brought by Horrendous Hackney Road Closures (“HHRC”), of Hackney Council’s decision to adopt an emergency transport plan in response “to the impacts of COVID-19 on the transport network” (“the ETP”). One of the measures included in the ETP was the introduction of liveable Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (“LTNs”) across the borough through the reallocation of road space and new permeable filters eliminating through traffic and rat-runs whilst maintaining full access to residential areas. Consistent with Central Government guidance, LTNs were designed to promote walking and cycling and to avoid the effects of a car-led recovery from lockdown. Each LTN was established by means of an experimental traffic order.
HHRC’s central complaint was that the effects of the proposals upon air quality and safety were not properly analysed before implementation, particularly in relation to traffic displaced from residential roads on to the busier roads already adversely effected by safety and air quality issues. This complaint manifested itself in four grounds of challenge: (1) breach of the network management duty under section 16 of the Traffic Management Act 2004; (2) breach of the public sector equality duty; (3) failure to properly investigate or have regard to the impact on air quality of the LTN proposals, and (4) failure to undertake any proper consultation on the ETP before it was promulgated in breach of the consultation requirements of the common law.
Sitting in the Planning Court, Mr Justice Dove rejected all four grounds and dismissed the claim. The full judgment is available here.
Kelvin Rutledge QC and Jack Parker represented Hackney Council.