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’Zero-tolerance’ on A-boards welcomed by disabled people

Transport for London has named 18 areas across London as ‘zero tolerance’ for A-boards, following a successful pilot in three areas.

TfL have stated that ‘prosecution will remain the last resort and TfL will continue with the current practice using the statutory process in the 2003 Act of issuing removal notices, after which the ‘A’ Boards are removed and kept until the business owners pay a fee and retrieve their ‘A’ Board.’

Advertising boards, or A-boards, are an everyday bane for disabled people. Cory Sharp, a visually impaired member who lives in Whitechapel, said:

“They’re a nightmare. You have to go round them, and the whole time you’re worrying that they’re going to send you into the road, or veering into something else. I manage it somehow, but I’ve come close to tripping over. Hopefully, the expansion of zero-tolerance for A-boards means that disabled people will find it easier to get our destination without obstacles in the way.“

Enforcing clear footways

Street clutter is not just a problem for visually impaired people, but a problem for wheelchair users, scooter users, buggy users and older people too. Transport for All welcome this ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to businesses which repeatedly flout rules on keeping the pavement clear. Not everyone can step down into the road to bypass an A-board or other obstacle.

The areas were named at the TfL Surface Transport Panel on 11th Feb, chaired by former Paralympian Tanni Grey Thompson. London Travelwatch has long campaigned for this, and reminded councils and TfL that it is an offence under the 1980 Highways Act to ‘wilfully obstruct a highway’ Transport for All called for action on street clutter in our Mayoral Manifesto in 2012. The 18 areas selected as ‘zero-tolerance’ by TfL are Red Routes, also known as TLRN roads (TfL Road Network roads); but we would like to see councils follow TfL’s example and take a much tougher approach to enforcing clear footways. The more A-boards are cleared from pavements, the more disabled and older people will be able to use their local high street with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.

You can read the paper in which TfL sets out their proposal relating to A-boards here. The areas where a zero-tolerance policy applies to A-boards are named below.

Zero Tolerance Locations Borough
Camden High Street Camden
Finchley Road Camden
Bishopsgate / Gracechurch Street City of London
Kingsland High Street Hackney
Stoke Newington High Street Hackney
Holloway Road / Seven Sisters Road Islington
Upper Street Islington
Brompton Road Kensington and Chelsea
Earls Court Road Kensington and Chelsea
Clapham High Street Lambeth
Peckham High Street Southwark
Tooley Street / Borough High Street Southwark
Whitechapel Road Tower Hamlets
Balham High Road Wandsworth
Tooting High Street Wandsworth
Wandsworth High Street Wandsworth
High Street Colliers Wood Merton
London Road, Morden Merton