Hackney publish ‘School Streets’ toolkit for UK councils

Hackney Council is sending a free ‘School Streets’ toolkit to every council in the country, giving advice on how to replicate its successful initiative which bans vehicles outside schools during pick-up and drop-off times.

School Streets have been running in Hackney since 2017, with five now in operation, and two more, at Audrey Street (Sebright School and the City of London Academy, Shoreditch Park) and Detmold Road (Southwold School), due to launch in the coming weeks.

They are aimed at reclaiming the roads outside schools from cars, improving air quality at the school gates and making it easier for children to walk and cycle to school.

Since School Streets first came to the borough, children cycling to participating schools in Hackney has increased by over 50%, with traffic outside the schools reducing by around two-thirds.

The council has plans to implement 17 School Streets by 2022, which will cover around a third of primary schools in the borough.

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor of Hackney, said: ‘Our pioneering School Streets have been incredibly successful so far, with widespread support from children, parents, teachers and local people.

‘They also go so much further than simply banning idling at schools – they tackle poor air quality, make the streets outside schools places for everyone, and tackle the obesity crisis by making it easier for kids to walk or cycle to school.

‘We’ve had lots of interest in School Streets from as far afield as Toronto and Singapore and feel that we have a duty to share our new toolkit with councils nationwide, as we want to see schools transformed and the school-run become a thing of the past.’

A copy of the guide is being sent to all councils across the country. View it here.

Jemima Hartshorn of campaign group Mums for Lungs wrote for Air Quality News last month about the initiative.

‘They have been found to reduce exposure to air pollution, increase road safety and lead to more active travel, which is good for everyone’s health. We want to empower headteachers and parents to create them in as many schools as we can,’ she said.

In related news, there has been a positive response to the ‘School Streets’ consultation in Croydon, with 70% backing plans to create temporary traffic-free zones outside 10 schools during pick-up and drop-off times.