An Oxford councillor said he is ‘very concerned’ after the council revealed they do not have data on how many fire engines have been held up by Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

This comes following reports last month by the Daily Mail that 239 ambulances had been delayed by LTN barriers in London.

The Oxford Mail sent off Freedom of Information requests to Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue (Oxfordshire County Council), Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service asking the same question about LTNs in Oxford.

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Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue is run by Oxfordshire County Council who are responsible for the LTN schemes.

Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service are yet to provide a response.

Councillor Sajjad Malik who represents Temple Cowley on Oxford City Council said: “I am very concerned and surprised that they do not have that data.

“It also seems quite fishy.”

Mr Malik has spoken openly about his opposition towards LTNs in past.

He added: “My fear is the safety of my residents.

“I want them [the LTNs] removed straight away.

“The last thing that we want is that something happens and the fire engine can’t get through.”

Oxfordshire County Council explained in their FOI response that it was not possible to calculate the number of fire engines that had been delayed on account of several variables including ‘traffic conditions’ and ‘the reaction of the public’.

Here is their response in full:

“As LTNs were introduced we ensured that our crews were aware and familiar of their locations. This was achieved through maps and presentations as well as driving the routes to understand the impact on our routes and emergency response.

“Our crews continue to refresh and keep their knowledge current. As a result of this, when our crews are called to an emergency they plan the quickest route taking into account the position of LTNs.

“Our crews are often not located at our fire stations due to emergency calls, off-station training or community safety engagement.

“This means that their location when they receive an emergency call is not predictable. In addition to this, the traffic conditions, parking and the reaction of the public to our fire appliances while they are using blue lights and sirens all have the ability to impact our attendance times.

“As a result of our effective route planning and the variables which we have listed, it is not possible to calculate the impact of LTNs against the time of the journey that we would have taken had they not been there.”

Oxfordshire County Council were contacted for comment in relation to the points made in this article.

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A council spokesperson said: “Oxfordshire County Council has engaged with emergency services throughout the development and implementation of the LTNs, and continues to work closely with them to ensure their continued access to and through these streets in emergencies.

“Fire, police and ambulance services are able to feed back and advise through regular meetings with us – helping make sure that emergency access through the LTN closures is the most suitable for service needs.”

“The aim of LTNs is to create a better environment for walking, wheeling or cycling – making these a more natural first choice for short journeys around the city.

“LTNs are one part of the central Oxfordshire travel plan, a county council plan which aims to reduce the need to travel by car and improve journeys made by walking, cycling and public transport.

“We continue to monitor the LTNs on a site-by-site basis and evaluate their impact.”