Decision to drop pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is a missed opportunity

We are disappointed by Westminster Council’s announcement yesterday (7 June) that they are dropping plans to pedestrianise London’s Oxford Street.

Vanessa Griffiths, our chief executive, said: “This is a huge missed opportunity by Westminster Council. Turning Oxford Street into a traffic-free zone offers the chance to create a fantastic public space for the millions of people who visit it on foot every year, encouraging walking, improving air quality and public health as well as potentially boosting the economy and enhancing safety.”

We’re campaigning for cities and towns designed to encourage people to go about their everyday lives on foot - making walking the easy choice for any type of urban journey. Prioritising cars over pedestrians will make Oxford Street less welcoming to visitors on foot.

Vanessa added: “The pedestrianisation of this iconic London street, visited by millions of people from all over the world every year, would be an opportunity for London to be a leader in creating healthy, walkable cities that put pedestrians first.

“We are extremely disappointed in Westminster Council’s short-sighted decision to drop these plans, at a time when pollution and obesity are growing problems that need to be tackled urgently.”

We’re urging councils across the UK to sign our Charter for Walkable Towns and Cities, pledging to make all new developments designed to improve local walking networks and make urban areas more green and walkable. The charter already has over 50 signatories, including Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham and Salford’s Mayor, Paul Dennet. Find out more about the Charter for Walkable Cities here