Ealing Council’s leader survives no-confidence motion by one vote
29 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith
The leader of Ealing Council, Councillor Julian Bell, has headed off a motion of no confidence by a single vote, with councillors voting by 27 to 26 against the motion.
The vote was held on Monday 28 September, following the revelation that the council had failed to consult with London Ambulance Service before the controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes were imposed in the borough.
Mr Bell had given councillors in the affected wards assurances that all the emergency services had been informed of the plans.
Protests against the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes in Ealing were reported in the national press earlier this month, with residents unhappy about the lack of prior consultation.
Council ‘deeply regrets’ mistake
On 25 September, the Council released a joint statement addressing the issue:
“Ealing Council works closely with all the emergency services in our borough and the safety of residents is always the council’s first priority.
“There has been ongoing engagement with all services regarding the implementation of low traffic neighbourhoods.
“We have used feedback from these discussions with colleagues in the emergency services to adapt and improve plans as quickly as possible…
“Regrettably, the London Ambulance Service was not consulted at the same time as the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade.
“Although delayed, feedback from the London Ambulance Service on all of Ealing’s low traffic neighbourhood schemes including those for two schemes (Loveday Road, LTN 30 and West Ealing North, LTN20 ) due for implementation by the end of September has now been given and taken on board. We are reviewing our procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“We deeply regret this mistake and the council has apologised to the London Ambulance Service. The London Ambulance Service has acknowledged that since this issue came to light the constructive way in which we have engaged with them and taken on board their recommendations could serve as an approach to follow.”
Images above: Councillor Julian Bell, a vandalised traffic planter after protests in Ealing in early September
Leader of Council ‘must resign’
The Leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council, Greg Stafford described the mistake as “beyond disgraceful.”
He has called for the resignation of both Councillor Bell and the Transport spokesperson Councillor Mik Sabiers in response to the council’s admission.
“The LTNs were introduced without any consultation with residents, but Ealing Labour Council have long shown scant regard for residents’ views. But to fail in their legal obligation to consult with the London Ambulance Service on the implementation of LTNs is beyond disgraceful; there are serious repercussions when dealing with life and death situations where time is of the essence and to totally disregard this, is gross negligence.
“The recent removal of some bollards and their replacement with ANPR cameras is a tacit admission that the scheme hindered the proper progress of emergency vehicles and therefore endangered the lives of local residents.
“The council leader Cllr Julian Bell, who has been so instrumental in forcing these rushed measures through, and his transport spokesman Cllr Mik Sabiers must resign.”
Image above: Leader of the Opposition on Ealing Council – Councillor Gregory Stafford
Ambulances potentially impeded by road closures
A spokesperson for the London Ambulance Service said:
“As the busiest ambulance service in the country, our focus is on achieving the best outcomes for ill and injured patients and ensuring we reach them in response times set by the government.
“Changes to road layouts, traffic management schemes, and road closures all have the potential to impede our response to the most critically ill people and could delay life-saving treatments or conveyance to the nearest emergency department.
“This is why we continue to work with Transport for London (TfL) and local authorities, including Ealing, to ensure emergency vehicle access is properly considered, and the impact of any changes monitored.
“We will continue to discuss these issues at the emergency services group, made up of local authority traffic teams and TfL, as well as make representations at a local level where necessary.”