loading page

Low-traffic neighbourhoods in Ealing: Contested policy making in a polycentric governance environment
  • Peter Finn
Peter Finn
Kingston University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) have become an unexpected political battle ground during the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming interwoven with contestations relating to special powers, democracy, traffic flow, and environmental and climate change related, targets. This article explores the politics surrounding the implementation of LTNs in Ealing as part of the Ealing Council streetspace Programme. In doing, it traces the implementation of nine, and the removal of eight, LTNs, the operation of civil society groups, protest marches, and petitions, inter and intra party political tensions, a High Court submission, and the downfall of the Leader of Ealing Council. Conceptually, it locates events in Ealing within a broader UK polycentric governance environment where policy is navigated within a dynamic environment featuring  central, regional/city, and local state institutions, along with a multi-level judiciary and contested civil society. Didactic in nature, this article teases out learning points of broader applicability related to strategic communication, othering, and stakeholder engagement. It concludes by highlighting that the implementation of LTNs in Ealing should be considered a cautionary tale for those wishing to implement policies with an immediate impact on lived experiences at speed.