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Westminster and Camden working together to improve air quality and road safety in Covent Garden

Covent Garden in the evening with lots of people eating al fresco on the piazza

Published: 30 November 2021

  • New plans to reduce traffic will be trialled in Covent Garden from December 2021 for up to 18 months
  • The changes aim to improve safety, reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality for pedestrians and cyclists.

Westminster City Council and Camden Council are working together to reduce carbon emissions and improve road safety in Covent Garden. The two councils are delivering a new Neighbourhood Traffic Management (NTM) scheme, which will be trialled from December 2021 for up to 18 months.

The aims of the scheme are to:

  • reduce motorised traffic, helping to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality
  • enhance the public realm, improving road safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists and supporting local businesses
  • improve public safety in Covent Garden Piazza and the surrounding streets.

The main changes include adjustments to the direction of traffic on some streets as well as closing some roads at certain times. This will help reduce traffic through the area and create a safer and more pleasant public space. Essential access for residents, businesses, deliveries and servicing will still be available. Further information is available on Neighbourhood Traffic Management website.

The scheme was developed following a series of conversations with residents and business groups in Covent Garden, to ensure it addresses local traffic issues and benefits those that visit, work and live in the area. Westminster and Camden held a formal consultation on the proposed changes, to gather the views of residents, business owners and other local stakeholders, which closed in September.

At the end of the trial period, Camden and Westminster will review the comments and data collected during the trial and take a decision on whether the scheme will become permanent.

Councillor James Spencer, Westminster Cabinet Member for City Management, said:

Westminster City Council is committed to tackling the climate emergency and we are proud to be working with Camden to improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions, and increase road safety in the West End.

This new scheme will deliver huge benefits to the iconic shopping district of Covent Garden, prioritising pedestrians and cyclists and enhancing the overall visitor experience. This is especially important as we welcome visitors back to enjoy the unique cultural highlights that the West End has to offer.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for a sustainable Camden said:

Our joint scheme with Westminster shows the benefits of partnership working for all residents, businesses and visitors across the iconic Covent Garden area.

Specifically, for Seven Dials, this is part of a wider ongoing series of changes we have been making in response to the challenges that residents, community groups and businesses have been telling us about. This includes reducing the number of motor vehicles that use the area as a ‘rat run’, therefore improving Covent Garden for pedestrians and cyclists.

This trial also further reduces through-traffic in the area between Seven Dials and Kingsway, benefitting many more Camden residents, businesses and visitors to Covent Garden.

Find more information about the Covent Garden Neighbourhood Traffic Management scheme.