A consultation on road closures aimed at encouraging cycling and walking in Harrow could see cameras replace physical planters to prevent people using certain streets.

Harrow Council has asked residents for their views on low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) – which were introduced into parts of the borough last year under the ‘Streetspace’ programme – including the prospect of using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

The ‘Streetspace’ schemes sought to improve walking and cycling routes, while also reducing traffic along residential streets, as part of a plan to improve active travel in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since their implementation, the effectiveness of LTNs has been consistently debated – many have argued they are an essential way of tackling transport issues, while others believe they cause more issues than they seek to solve.

Despite numerous calls from campaign groups and Harrow Conservatives to scrap the LTNs immediately, Harrow Council insisted a full consultation would be carried out following a six-month trial period.

It has since proposed ANPR cameras replace physical planters at these sites to create ‘virtual LTNs’, which would “allow all homes to remain accessible and eligible residents and businesses with permits to drive throughout the neighbourhood”.

And it is calling on people to give wider feedback on the measures, which will be used to shape the future of the programme.

“LTN measures were put in place following government guidance to create space for people to socially distance, making streets safer, quieter and less polluted and encourage walking and cycling while public transport was at reduced capacity,” the council said.

“The temporary schemes support Harrow’s longer-term climate and health objectives of reducing air pollution, levels of obesity and diabetes, while also tackling congestion, speeding and improving overall road safety.”

The consultation, which can be accessed at www.harrow.gov.uk/ltn, runs until March 21, and will be discussed at a council traffic and road safety advisory panel meeting in April.

Council officers explained views expressed throughout the six-month trial period under the ‘Streetspace’ portal will also be taken into account when making any future decision.