The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has said current road closures and restricting of routes is causing a major problem for people with disabilities who rely on motor vehicles as a mode of transportation.
According to the ABD, the population of the UK contains a high proportion of “disabled” people, and government statistics show they actually represent 22% of the population (that’s 13.9 million people).
In London, a borough such as Lewisham reports that 15% of the population consider themselves disabled, the ABD has said.
Disabled people face numerous problems such as access to health services and access to employment. They often rely on “carers” for assistance with many activities such as shopping.
The ABD is now asking the question: “How do Low Traffic Neighbourhoods such as the Healthy Neighbourhood plans (and associated road closures) in Lewisham and other boroughs affect them?”
According to the ABD and a recent campaign they ran, high numbers responding opposed road closures put in place.
The ABD released a statement saying: “The problem is that many disabled people rely on motor vehicles for transport as they have difficulty using public transport and suggestions that they should cycle are treated with derision. They also often cannot walk far. They don’t just own cars and use them, they use taxi services or get transported by carers in vehicles. In addition, they often have support from social service workers who use vehicles to get around.
“For example, this is one comment just received ‘I strongly disagree with these closures, I work for the Borough of Lewisham and respond to vulnerable clients in the Borough. These road closures have delayed us responding to our clients, and one day the outcome will result in more serious consequences. Sitting in traffic, unable to access roads, this is not solving anything. If anything the situation is causing more pollution, congestion and more aggressive drivers. The fact that we as residents of the borough were not consulted is not acceptable’.
“Life has become much more difficult for disabled people since the road closures were introduced in Lewisham with much extended journey times as a result. Simply accessing Lewisham hospital is a common complaint.”
The ABD are now questioning whether Lewisham Council considered the impact of the road closures on disabled people by completing an Equality Impact Assessment as required by the Equalities Act 2010. The ABD say that as far as they are aware, they have not done so.