Residents and businesses have criticised plans to increase the operating hours of bus lanes in Green Lanes and Fore Street.

Nearly 300 people have signed a petition calling on Enfield Council to rethink the proposals, with many warning of increased congestion, pollution, and harm to local businesses.

The bus lanes currently operate from 4pm to 7pm, Monday to Friday. The council now wants to increase the hours to 7am to 7pm, seven days a week, arguing this would help alleviate “significant delays” to buses using the routes.

But opponents of the changes claim they would stop people from parking, reduce traffic flow to one lane, and mean moving loading bays to residential streets.

Enfield Council wants to increase bus lane operating hours to 7am to 7pm, seven days a week

Enfield Council wants to increase bus lane operating hours to 7am to 7pm, seven days a week

One person wrote, in response to the petition, that it would have a “hugely damaging” impact for businesses in Palmers Green, while another said: “The loss of parking spaces will have a negative effect on the local shops, and there will be increased queueing of cars resulting in more pollution.”

Lead petitioner Shifa Mehmet, from Meat Land Suppliers in Green Lanes, said the proposal would pile more pressure on businesses hit by the Covid-19 lockdown and the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) to the North Circular Road.

She said: “There is the impact on pollution from cutting two lanes down to one lane, traffic in residential streets not being able to move, there is going to be no customer parking.”

Deliveries to and from local businesses would be affected, Ms Mehmet warned, adding: “[Businesses] don’t have their own back-street parking, so it means they would either have to park across the road or in side streets and carry deliveries down the street.”

She said she had visited 103 neighbouring traders, but only three people had seen the information sent out by the council. She also claimed parking data used by the council had been collected during the Covid lockdown.

She added: “The fear for traders and residents is, are they just going to implement this like the low-traffic neighbourhoods and ignore the concerns?”

The proposals to increase the bus lane hours were originally due to be implemented in December, but have been delayed.

A council spokesperson said: “The council engaged with local businesses and residents to help it develop proposals to improve conditions for buses on Green Lanes and Fore Street. Officers are still reviewing the feedback, and there are no immediate changes to the bus lanes.”