Southwark Labour passes the Equal Pavements Pledge

People living in Southwark will soon be able to walk around more easily as the Labour-run council has promised to get rid of clutter from the borough’s pavements.

At the council meeting on 13th July 2022 Labour councillors voted for the Equal Pavements Pledge which is designed to ensure all footpaths are accessible. 

The motion was moved by Cllr Esme Dobson. A full-time carer for her husband who has daily, first-hand experience of navigating inaccessible footpaths Esme said:

“Pushing someone in a wheelchair from A to B often means negotiating uneven pavements, overgrown tree stumps, piles of rubbish or dockless hire bikes and not enough dropped kerbs.  Southwark Council is pledging to work on all these issues to make pavements accessible for all”

Cllr Charlie Smith, who seconded the motion, said:

“All Southwark residents should be able to use our pavements knowing they are free from all obstacles and will give free access especially those residents who are blind, partially sighted, wheelchair users, those with mobility problems, parents with prams and our elder population. Southwark will repair or replace uneven pavement slabs and repair other uneven surfaces as a priority.” 

Labour is dedicated to making Southwark as accessible for everyone as possible. 

The motion reads:

1. This Council notes:

  1. the campaign of Transport for All calling on councils and transport authorities to sign an Equal Pavements Pledge
  2. 95 per cent of roads are the responsibility of London boroughs and only 5 per cent belong to the TfL network.
  3. the majority of disabled people polled recently by Transport for All are worried that streets remain inaccessible with many streets still lacking even dropped kerbs to enable level access along pavements or to cross the street.
  4. disabled people are concerned at the risk of further barriers being presented – either from the way in which changes to streets are delivered, or from al-fresco dining being delivered without consideration for the need for clear access on pavements.
  5. Islington’s people-friendly pavements programme, created following feedback from local people and engagement with a range of organisations representing disabled people in Islington, including Disability Action in Islington and Transport for All
  6. That people-friendly pavements is a key element of the peoplefriendly streets programme and will help the Council make Islington a better place for all
  7. The programme will include measures such as footway repaving, additional dropped kerbs and street clutter removal, and more
  8. That our borough continues to need investment and progress in making pavements fully accessible.

2. This Council notes that the Transport for All Equal Pavements Pledge outlines a need to:

  1. Listen to disabled people, and act
  2. Keep pavements clear
  3. Cut pavement clutter
  4. Reduce the impact of waste removal
  5. Audit pavements and install dropped kerbs where they are missing
  6. Protect blue badge parking, with relocation kept to a minimum
  7. Work with disabled experts, committing to co-production of schemes.

3. This Council resolves to:

  1. support the Transport for All Equal Pavements Pledge
  2. engage directly with organisations representing people with specific accessibility requirements
  3. call upon the Mayor of London through Transport for London (TfL) to respond to the Equal Pavements pledge with a comprehensive 33 11 programme of support to boroughs to be delivered in this current term
  4. Call on central Government to fully fund TfL to support London Boroughs to deliver people-friendly Equal Pavements.