Facts & Evidence

Mini Holland has suffered from a lot of wild assertions and claims which are not backed up. Below we list some facts and links which we think make a strong case for the Mini Holland principles and public realm measures being planned and implemented.

Journeys by car

Road safety charity Brake released a report (“Safety concerns are barrier to delivering walking and cycling benefits”, 10th Feb 2015) clearly showing that safety fears are preventing more young people walking or cycling –  parents fears topped the list, following by speeding traffic, and a lack of safe routes.

The private car represents a hugely inefficient use of road space. Our roads are clogged despite only half of households in the central Walthamstow area having access to a car (see ‘Census data’ below), and only a small proportion of them driving regularly. Using residential streets to improve through traffic capacity is no solution.

And its often most disadvantaged in our community who do not have use of a car yet suffer from the resultant pollution, danger and ill health. Encouraging more space efficient walking and cycling is key to healthier communities.


We’re struggling in the UK to reverse sedentary lifestyles. Children are particularly at risk, with obesity representing a long term threats to their futures, and further stretching health services. Vehicle emissions in residential areas damages children’s lungs which prevents them reaching their maximum growth potential, and risks a range of respiratory disorders in childhood, and disease in later life.

  • 14 per cent of children age 11 are overweight and over 23 per cent are obese or overweight; Waltham Forest Council – Mini Holland Health Benefits
  • If Londoners swapped motorised trips that could reasonably be walked and cycled, 60% of them would meet the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. The population of London would gain over 60,000 years of healthy life every year which would deliver an economic health benefit of over £2 billion annually. Health Impact of Cars in London, Greater London Authority Sep 2015.
  • Some 2,082 children aged 0-15 were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in
    2014. As with many other public health issues, road traffic casualty rates show a steep social gradient. Children in the 10% most deprived wards are four times more likely to be hit by a car than those in the 10% least deprived. In general, motorised road transport tends to better serve those who are already more advantaged. The richest 10% of the population effectively receive almost four times as much public spending on their transport needs as the poorest 10%. Working Together to Promote Active Travel, Public Health England May 2016.
  • Being physically active reduces your risk of chronic diseases by 50%; Waltham Forest Council – Mini Holland Health Benefits
  • Inactivity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, and a key WHO recommendation to  governments is to “create supportive built and social environments for physical activity – transport and urban planning policy measures can facilitate access to safe, affordable opportunities for physical activity.” Global Report on Diabetes, April 2016, World Health Organisation
  • Barts NHS Health Trust expect Mini Holland to help “to increase healthy life expectancy and reduce morbidity from at least 20 common diseases”. Letter from Barts supporting the Mini Holland bid, Dec 2013.
  • Researchers found that people who walked or cycled to work benefitted from improved mental wellbeing in comparison with those who travelled by car. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 16 September 2014
  • Nearly 9,500 people die each year in London because of air pollution (Guardian 15 Jul 2015,  & DEFRA as reported by Bikebiz 15 Sep 2015]
  • The true cost of air pollution to the NHS has been calculated as being as high as £53.58 billion each year. Campaign for Air Pollution Public Enquiry.
  • Diesel emissions dominate urban road pollution with about ten times the toxicity of petrol fumes. As 20mph limits reduce the most toxic diesel fumes, setting a wide 20mph limit is equivalent to removing nearly half of all petrol cars. Press release by 20’s Plenty for Us, 2 Oct 2015
  • Transport is responsible for around a quarter of EU greenhouse gas emissions making it the second biggest greenhouse gas emitting sector after energy. Road transport alone contributes about one-fifth of the EU’s total emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas. While emissions from other sectors are generally falling, those from transport have continued to increase until 2008 when transport emissions started to decrease on the back of oil prices, increased efficiency of passenger cars and slower growth in mobility. European Union: Reducing emissions form transport.
  • In London, 43% of adults do not achieve the minimum level of 150
    minutes of physical activity each week that is recommended to stay
    healthy. Health Impact of Cars in London, Greater London Authority Sep 2015.
  • Every hour of your daily commute spent in a car makes you 6 percent more likely to be obese. Every kilometer you walk (about .6 of a mile) reduces it by almost 5 percent. The Best Ways to Get to Work, According to Science, 30 Sep 2015
  • To create an environment suitable for cycling by 8 – 80 year olds, most effective interventions substantially separate people cycling from motor traffic, such as Greenway routes, filtered permeability, and segregation on busier roads by kerbs or car parking. Children and Cycling by Dr Rachel Aldred.
  • Fear of road traffic injury is the key reason people give for not cycling and that parents give for limiting their children’s independence. Fear of road danger from cars and other motorised vehicles is a key factor in preventing Londoners from being more active. Switching from private motor transport to active travel or public
    transport is associated with a significant reduction in body mass
    index. Health Impact of Cars in London, Greater London Authority Sep 2015

Local economy

It is likely your business is already visited by far more people on bikes and on foot than you realise.  Public realm improvements, protected space for bikes on main roads and other cycling measures have been repeatedly shown to increase sales in nearby shops.

  • Cyclists visit local shops more regularly, spending more than users of most other modes of transport. Per square metre, cycle parking delivers 5 times higher retail spend than the same area of car parking. A compact town optimised for walking and cycling can have a “retail density” (spend per square metre) 2.5 times higher than a typical urban centre. Value of Cycling, University of Birmingham and Phil Jones Associates, March 2016.
  • Research shows that making places better for walking can boost footfall and trading by up to 40%
  • Good urban design can raise retail rents by up to 20%
  • International and UK studies have shown that pedestrians spend more than people arriving by car. Comparisons of spending by transport mode in Canada and New Zealand revealed that pedestrians spent up to six-times more than people arriving by car. In London town centres in 2011, walkers spent £147 more per month than those travelling by car
  • All the above from The Pedestrian Pound – the business case for better streets and places, Living Streets
  • Retailers often overate the importance of the car. A survey conducted in spring 2015 in Lea Bridge Road Waltham Forest showed that businesses believed that 63% of their customers arrived by car; a survey of visitors to the street revealed that only 20% had arrived by car. A study in Graz, Austria, subsequently repeated in Bristol found that retailers overestimated the number of customers arriving by car by almost 100%.

More reports and articles:

Cycle infrastructure

  • Danish levels of cycling in the UK would save the NHS £17bn within 20 years … and increase mobility of the nation’s poorest families by 25%.
  • Bike lanes can increase retail sales by 25%
  • Bike parking takes up 8 times less space than cars, helping to free up space
  • Adopting Dutch safety standards could reduce cycling casualties by two thirds
  • Cycling saves a third of road space compared to driving, to help cut congestion

All the above from Benefits of Investing in Cycling (Dr Rachel Aldred, Oct 2014)

  • In Seville, an 80-mile network of protected bike lanes boosted biking from 0.6 percent to 7 percent of trips in six years.
  • The average protected bike lane sees bike counts increase 75 percent in its first year alone.
  • Streets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure.
  • Making biking comfortable, safe and dignified has made expensive car ownership optional for low-income Denmark residents.
  • Only 41 percent of trips by Denmark’s poorest residents happen in cars, compared to 72 percent by the poorest Americans.

All the above from People for Bikes.

Census data

Perception surveys – what Waltham Forest residents think about their local areas

As well as using conventional survey techniques, Waltham Forest council embarked on a series of surveys using the innovative online commonplace tool, in order to establish how local people felt about the key areas earmarked for improvement as part of the Mini Holland programme.  The results can be found by clicking here, and some of the infographics are listed below.


In total 1527 people responded

  • 687 respondents would like to see better pavements
  • 591 respondents would like to see more plants and trees
  • 498 respondents would like less traffic on the roads
  • 486 respondents would like more attractive streets
  • 472 respondents would like slower traffic
  • 455 respondent would like more local shops
  • 437 respondents would like safer crossing points
  • 430 respondents would like more places to sit
  • 402 respondents would like improved public spaces
  • Click here to see more of the perception survey results.

Highams Park

In total 628 people responded

  • 319 respondents would like to see better pavements
  • 246 respondents would like to see more plants and trees
  • 239 respondents would like safer crossing points
  • 222 respondents would like more attractive streets
  • 207 respondents would like slower traffic
  • 201 respondent would like more local shops
  • Click here to see more of the perception survey results.

Leytonstone Town Centre

Leyton Town Centre

Blackhorse Village

Hoe Street & Wood Street

Lea Bridge Road

  • How respondents travel on Lea Bridge Road: Walk 75%, Public Transport 61%, Car 47%,  Cycle 36%. Click here for the infographic.
  • 13% said business and shops are good, 69% feel that some places on Lea Bridge Road are not safe. More information here.
  • Business perception of Lea Bridge Road: It is attractive 19%, It is unattractive 33%. Business is flourishing 11%, business could be better 33%. More information here.
  • Business think 63% of their customers traveled to the area by car; however only 20% of visitors reported travelling by car. More information here.

Church Road

  • How respondents travel on Church Road: Walk 65%, Public Transport 52%, Car 38%,  Cycle 27%. More information here.
  • 40% of businesses said they would like to see a better retail, business and service mix. More information here.

Forest Road

Click below for more of the perception survey results.

  • 60% of businesses said business could be better, and 50% said its difficult to get around. More information here.
  • 75% of respondents would like protected cycle lanes, 74% slower traffic, nd 74% safer crossing points. More information here.

10 indicators of a healthy street

Healthy Street Indicators

The healthy street indicators above are from the TfL report “Improving the health of Londoners”.

Further reading