LTN roads: blue badge drivers get pass in Highbury

Exemptions are piloted – but disabled residents in other parts of the borough may be in for a long wait

Friday, 3rd December 2021 — By Isabelle Stanley

Christine Eisen

Former headteacher Christine Eisen

BLUE badge holders can travel more freely after the council granted special permission for them to move through the Highbury “low traffic neighbourhood” scheme – but it won’t help everyone.

The Tribune spoke last week to Christine Eisen, a disabled former headteacher who said her life was made near impossible by the traffic restrictions in the borough.

“I’ve got advanced Parkinson’s [disease]. I can’t walk and using my wheelchair is agonising in cold weather. I need to be driven. I rely on my car,” she said.

Now, the council has announced special exemptions are being introduced to the Highbury LTNs. These will allow blue badge holders like Ms Eisen, who live within the neighbour­hood, to drive through the traffic filters.

The exemptions are being piloted in Highbury but disabled residents affected by other LTNs in the borough may be in for a long wait. Officials have said the measures cannot be introduced in the five other areas until a public consultation has been held.

Despite declining our request for an interview last week, Islington’s environment chief, Councillor Rowena Champion, said: “The blue badge holder exemption in the Highbury people-friendly streets neighbourhoods will help make it easier for disabled people to travel, whilst ensuring the trials continue to deliver cleaner, greener, healthier streets for all.”

She said: “Along with the exemption, the council is introducing adaptations to pavements, with improvements such as footway repaving, foliage maintenance, additional dropped kerbs, tactile paving and street clutter removal.

“Following engagement with disabled people and groups representing disabled people, we’re working to make Islington’s streets more accessible for all, including through our new people-friendly pavements programme.”

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