Birmingham to trial car-free ‘School Streets’

Birmingham will follow other successful ‘School Streets’ initiatives across the country and close streets to traffic around six primary schools during pick-up and drop-off times.

School Streets aim to reclaim the roads outside schools from cars, improve air quality at the school gates and make it easier for children to walk and cycle to school.

In Birmingham, this scheme will be delivered as part of the Modeshift STARS scheme, which provides a range of activities and initiatives that support safer, greener and healthier travel to school.

This includes resources to help tackle illegal, dangerous and inconsiderate parking outside schools as well as to encourage people to switch off their engines.

As previously reported by Air Quality News, Hackney Council sent a free ‘School Streets’ toolkit to every council in the country, giving advice on how to replicate its successful initiative which it pioneered in 2017.

Birmingham City Council says they will monitor and assess the impact of pilot before deciding whether this should be made permanent, as well as identifying opportunities to expand the scheme to other suitable locations in 2020.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: ‘Air pollution affects everyone in Birmingham, but especially children.

‘Transport is responsible for around 80 per cent of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and the school gate is a location where we are particularly exposed to this. These closures will really benefit local communities, improving people’s health and the environment.

‘This is a pilot scheme but ultimately I want every school in the city to be a clean air safe haven for our children.’

Local residents living on the streets affected will be issued with permits to access their properties and there will be some other exemptions, including blue badge holders and emergency services. Anyone else driving in the restricted zone at these times can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice charge of £50.

The Birmingham pilot will begin in September at the following schools:

Alston Primary (Heartlands), Chilcote Primary (Hall Green South), Cofton Primary (Longbridge & West Heath), Featherstone Primary (Stockland Green), Nelson Primary (Ladywood), and St Francis CE Primary (Bournville & Cotteridge).

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