Clutter and chaos: how to sort out central London’s streets

This event has already taken place.

On Thursday 1 February we hosted our first report launch of 2024. We unpacked the findings from our research and heard from expert panellists on de-cluttering our streets. 

Then our panel of experts responded to our ideas and debated the way forward.

The discussion included:  

  • How cluttered are central London’s streets?  
  • Are London businesses losing out due to cluttered streets?  
  • How does street clutter affect the accessibility and desirability of our streets?  
  • How are other global cities dealing with street clutter? And are we falling behind?  

This event was in-person only. It included opening remarks by Nicholas Boys Smith, Founding Director of Create Streets, a short presentation and a panel discussion. 

Missed the event? Have a look at our main presentation slides


  • Chair: Tony Travers, Director at LSE London
  • Alexander Jan, Chair at Central District Alliance
  • Millie Mitchell, Senior Researcher at Centre for London
  • Mei-Yee Man Oram, Access and Inclusive Environments Operational Leader at Arup
  • Cllr Rachel Bentley, Councillor at London Borough of Southwark

About the research

London has a street clutter problem. It is making our capital city a worse place for residents, workers, visitors and businesses alike.

In 2023, we launched a report that quantified the scale of this problem and set out policy solutions to address it. Key issues we identified include:  

  • Moveable advertising boards, known as ‘A boards’, are the most common kind of clutter. They are most often found on shopping streets with high footfall and cause particular challenges for people with visual impairments. Our report calls for the GLA to introduce a city-wide ban on A boards.   
  • Dockless e-bikes, when poorly parked or abandoned on the pavement, are a growing concern. But current lack of legislation from national government means local authorities are limited in their ability to introduce requirements for bikes to be parked in dedicated bays.  
  • Phone boxes in London, particularly those which are not heritage assets, are too often in severe states of disrepair and disuse. Local authorities need stronger powers to remove them.  

Concern around this issue is widespread and growing. The report has already received coverage from BBC London, ITV London and the Evening Standard and we hope to use this event to continue to build momentum around this critical topic.   

Event sponsor

This event is free to attend due to the generous support of