Lambeth Council has proposed permanent road closures around a primary school at peak times to protect its children from air pollution.
The council is now consulting residents on the proposals, which will see roads around Immanuel and St Andrew CE primary school in Streatham permanently closed just before and after school hours starting from this autumn.
The proposals follow a successful trial of the closures earlier this year, which received widespread support from parents and residents.
Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth Council’s deputy leader with responsibility for environment and clean air, said: ‘We want to protect our future generations from breathing in toxic air, which is known to cause serious health problems such as lung defects, breathing problems and cancer and put the infrastructure in place for them to walk, cycle and scoot safely.
‘Having timed road closures around the school’s immediate surroundings means that children travelling to school will breathe in less toxic air and be able to do so more safely.
‘It’s important that we act now and urgently to start making positive change and realise how harmful pollution is to people living in our borough and in London as a whole.’
The original trial of the scheme took place between March and July this year and saw the installation of barriers to restrict road traffic around the school just before and just after school hours.
The trial led to an increase in pupils walking, riding and scooting to school and reduced traffic and congestion directly next to the school.
The council now plans to create a Traffic Management Order and a pedestrianised zone around the school which restricts cars from using the road at set times.
The closures will be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which the council wants to replace the barriers with this October.
During the school morning and afternoon, the road will only be accessible by disabled blue badge holders and emergency vehicles, although residents will still be able to leave the street by car.
Lambeth Council says it will put up warning signs at the entrances of the street ‘well in advance’ to let drivers know about the new restrictions.
Lambeth Council’s action to protect schoolchildren from air pollution comes after a study revealed significant air pollution inside and outside schools in the borough.
Earlier this year, research by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) found nitrogen dioxide (NO2) inside and outside classrooms at seven schools in Lambeth, as well as high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) inside the classrooms.
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