Graphic - People-Friendly Streets, Better places for everyone - with image of a woman and two children walking

Highbury people-friendly streets neighbourhoods help create cleaner, greener, healthier streets

Local people in Highbury West and Highbury Fields have enjoyed cleaner, greener, healthier streets since the introduction of people-friendly streets neighbourhoods there, monitoring data has revealed.    

As part of its ongoing efforts to tackle the climate emergency and the health inequalities that arise from it, the council has so far introduced seven people-friendly streets neighbourhoods as 18-month trials.    

The schemes help create streets that are better suited to walking, cycling, and using buggies and wheelchairs, helping to improve air quality and ensuring that all can travel easily around the borough.    

Islington Council introduced the trial neighbourhoods in Highbury West and Highbury Fields in January 2021, and a monitoring report compares data from November 2020, prior to the implementation of the schemes, with figures from May 2021.    

The report reveals that the schemes have helped create safer, healthier streets, with traffic falling on roads within the neighbourhood by 67% due to the scheme preventing through-traffic, and cycling rising by 50% on roads within the neighbourhood. Roads were also safer, with the number of vehicles speeding falling by 77% within the neighbourhoods.     

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We’re working hard to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough where toxic air pollution is a thing of the past. Our work to improve Islington’s neighbourhoods, through the implementation of people-friendly streets and people-friendly pavements, can help create a more welcoming, environmentally-friendly borough for all. 

“The report we have published on the Highbury West and Highbury Fields neighbourhoods shows that, like our other people-friendly streets trials, they have helped create more pleasant and safer streets.    

“By decreasing traffic and encouraging more people to cycle, the schemes are helping to improve air quality, and make it easier and healthier for those that do not have a car to travel. Local people know their streets better than anyone, and we will continue to listen to their feedback on the trials.”   

Other developments in the report for the Highbury West and Highbury Fields neighbourhoods include:  

  • On Highbury Place, a local road, the number of people cycling rose from 650 per day to 1,171, an 80% rise.  
  • Traffic on Benwell Road has decreased from 11,774 vehicles a day to 932, a 92% fall.   
  • There has been no significant impact on the London Fire Brigade response times.    
  • The schemes have made no significant impact on crime rates or antisocial behaviour.  
  • Air quality data from within the Highbury neighbourhoods, shows that nitrogen dioxide levels have generally increased since the start of the trials. This increase is in line with those across the borough and is therefore representative of wider trends.
  • Overall, changes on the main roads are mixed – with traffic rising on some main roads and falling on others. On Blackstock Road, traffic rose by 65% on the northern site and by 17% on the southern site. The council will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments or implement mitigating schemes if necessary. More information on the changes on main roads is available in the report.  

The full report can be found on the council's website

The council is listening to feedback from local people, and will hold public consultations approximately 12 months into each people-friendly streets neighbourhood scheme to help decide if they should be made permanent.    

So that local people have all the relevant information, a further monitoring report will be published prior to the beginning of the Highbury West and Highbury Fields consultation, which will be announced in due course.    

Notes to editors

Please note: This press release was updated on Wednesday, 2 March 2022 after an independent audit identified some errors in the monitoring report, including a more robust way that the changes in traffic data could have been anlaysed. The audit can be found on the council's website. 

To help ensure that its people-friendly streets neighbourhoods work for everyone, including disabled people, the council recently announced its intention to launch more accessible people-friendly pavements, and to introduce exemptions to local camera-enforced traffic filters for Blue Badge holders living in a people-friendly streets neighbourhood. Further details will be announced in due course.    

To account for the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on transport in London, traffic figures in the monitoring report have been adjusted through a process known as “normalisation”. Further details on this process, which involves using Transport for London figures to estimate the effect of the pandemic on transport, can be found in the report itself.        

Contact information

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please view the contact information on our website or call 020 7527 2000.