Wandsworth propose banning traffic near primary schools

Wandsworth could ban traffic from driving past five primary schools to improve air quality and safety.

Wandsworth Council say they hope to pilot a ‘School Streets’ initiative from September 2019 at suitable locations that would see the roads containing school entrances closed to traffic when pupils arrive in the mornings and leave in the afternoons.

The council is currently considering the practicality of the initiative at Penwortham, Hillbrook, Alderbrook, Earlsfield and Furzedown primaries.

Where schools and parents back a scheme, there will be wider consultation with local residents in any affected streets to hear their views.

The council’s education and schools spokesman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: ‘We hope parents and local residents support this idea as we believe it will create a much safer and healthier environment for their children on their journeys to and from school.”

Transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook added: ‘Reducing the impact of vehicle traffic and encouraging parents and children to walk to school are key priorities for the council.

‘If parents and local residents in any affected streets agree to trial schemes, there could be a really beneficial impact on air quality standards around these schools. What will also be important is making sure we get the logistics of the scheme right.’

In related news, 63% of teachers would like to see cars and buses banned outside school gates during pick up and drop off times, a survey carried out by cycling charity Sustrans has found.

The survey, which asked 840 teachers of both primary and secondary schools a range of questions related to air quality, also found that 59% want the government to take ‘urgent action’ on air pollution.

When asked what they thought would reduce levels of air pollution outside schools, over a third of respondents (34%) believed that encouraging more people to walk, scoot and cycle would help reduce toxic fumes, followed by educating the school community about the cause and effects of air pollution (28%) and school road closures (26%).