High car ownership, few 20mph roads: Annual scorecard gives Havering streets low health rating

Vehicles queue in heavy traffic in south London, as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans f

The annual Healthy Streets Scorecard again ranked Havering as having among the most unhealthy streets in London - Credit: PA

High rates of car ownership and few regular cyclists are among the reasons Havering streets have again been rated among the most unhealthy in London.

The Healthy Streets Scorecard - an annual ratings system drawn up by a collective of transport, health, road safety and environment campaigners - has placed Havering 29 out of 33 London boroughs for overall street health. 

While this represents a slight improvement on last year’s 32, the scorecard’s review of Havering’s efforts notes it “will stay in the bottom quarter of all London boroughs unless it makes dramatic improvements”. 

Since the last scorecard in 2021, Havering is set to implement a traffic scheme to restrict car access around some schools and has introduced a new climate cabinet position in Havering's administration

Leader of the council, Cllr Ray Morgon, said the council is working on a number of new schemes, including a walking and cycling strategy for the borough.

He also pointed to successes such as Transport for London's (TfL) STARS programme, which since it began in 2009, has seen car use on the school run in Havering reduce by almost 20pc.

Havering performed poorly in most of the scorecard’s indicators, including a lack of protected cycle tracks, which make up just one per cent of total road length compared to leaders Waltham Forest with 12.5pc.

It also had the joint-highest proportion of polluting vehicles out of any London borough, tied with Hounslow, and few roads with 20mph speed limits - 9.9pc, the report found, which is far below the London average of 52.2pc. 

Havering was tied with Hounslow in having the highest proportion of polluting vehicles out of all London boroughs

Havering was tied with Hounslow in having the highest proportion of polluting vehicles out of all London boroughs - Credit: Healthy Streets Scorecard

Vehicle ownership remains high, with Havering having the smallest percentage of households without a car (23pc).

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The borough also recorded having the joint-lowest percentage of adults cycling five times per week, at just 0.9pc.

Cllr Morgon added: “We will work with TfL for increased investment in public transport, so that residents don’t have to rely on their cars to get around the borough."

Havering came joint-last in the scorecard's report on the percentage of adults cycling five times a week

Havering came joint-last in the scorecard's report on the percentage of adults cycling five times a week - Credit: Healthy Streets Scorecard

A spokesperson for Healthy Streets Scorecard said quick wins could include declaring a climate emergency and increasing the number of streets with 20mph speed limits. 

In the "medium term", they suggested the council could "tackle the speeding, through motor traffic that blights neighbourhood streets" and create more protected cycle tracks.

They added: “Without action, Havering will remain a borough where residents, local communities and businesses are unable to experience the huge benefits that high levels of active travel can offer.”