75% of public support Glasgow car-free zones outside schools

Three-quarters of people in Glasgow support banning cars outside school gates to protect children from air pollution, a new poll has found.

The poll, commissioned by the British Lung Foundation, found that Glasgow residents showed strong support for the measure to improve air quality outside schools.

Glaswegians’ support for the scheme was echoed across Scotland, as respondents to the poll across the country broadly backed the measures.

The findings of the poll come as Glasgow City Council is set to pilot car-free zones outside six primary schools across the city starting tomorrow.

Joseph Carter, head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted that Glasgow City Council is taking a lead on tackling poor air quality around schools by introducing these new restrictions on vehicles around schools during the regular school run.

‘Air pollution is bad for everyone’s health, but it’s especially dangerous for children whose growing lungs can be permanently damaged by it. With mounting evidence of the harmful health effects of air pollution, we must take bold approaches to protect vulnerable groups from its harmful health effects.

‘Banning cars around school gates would make the school run a much more pleasant experience and give children the chance to grow up with healthy lungs.’

In 2016 Glasgow was found to have the highest rate of car trips to school of any city in Scotland.

The poll, carried out by Censuswide for the British Lung Foundation, surveyed 1,001 people across Scotland on their feelings towards banning cars around school gates to improve air quality.

The poll found that 75% of respondents from Glasgow strongly or tended to support the move, with only 10% opposed to it and 15% undecided either way.

Across Scotland, the figures were broadly the same, as 74% of respondents supported the move with 9% opposed and 17% saying they didn’t know.

Glasgow City Council announced it would trial car-free zones earlier this year following complaints by parents about poor driving, traffic congestion and dangerous vehicle emissions outside schools.

During the trial, Bankhead, Broomhill, Hillhead, Lourdes, Our Lady of the Rosary and St Blane’s primary schools will have temporary pedestrian areas created around them at the start and end of the school day.

The car-free zones outside the six schools will be enforced starting tomorrow as pupils go back to school for the start of the new school year.

Cllr Anna Richardson, city convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: ‘School car-free zones will keep streets around schools clear of cars at the busiest times of the school day.

‘We hope school car-free zones will give parents greater confidence that their children can walk or cycle to school safely every day.’

The trial of the car-free zones will last for up to 18 months and could be brought in permanently if they are successful.

The council said that increases in children walking or cycling to school, reduced congestion and speed of cars around school gates, and reduced car journeys to the schools will all be factors in measuring the success of the zones.

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