90% back ‘School Streets’ in their area

90% of parents and residents would back a School Streets scheme in their area, according to a Sustrans poll.

The school streets model originated in London and sees private vehicles banned from streets near to schools during pick-up and drop-off times.

Currently, streets in Tower Hamlets, Islington, Birmingham, Hackney, Greenwich, Camden, Croydon, Bristol and Lambeth are all trialling the initiative to improve air quality for pupils.

Earlier this month, it was revealed by UK100 that just 40 schools in England have set up school streets so far.

The walking and cycling charity asked 954 people their views on air pollution around schools, with three quarters (75%) saying they were worried about the health impacts of exhaust fumes on pupils during school drop off and pick up times.

Sustrans also asked 3,434 pupils what they thought about to give their thoughts on air quality. Nearly half (45%) of the pupils surveyed said they were worried about levels of air pollution at their school.

The survey results have been issued as schools across the UK celebrate Bike to School Week this week.

Sustrans believes that every child in the UK has the right to a safe journey to school on foot or by bike and urges governments at all levels to prioritise high quality walking and cycling infrastructure to make the environment around schools safer, cleaner and healthier for pupils.

Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans said: ‘We all know that we are living with dangerous levels of air pollution in our towns and cities. Despite this, the latest figures from the National Travel Survey show that 45% of primary school children in England travel to school by car – a 1% increase from last year’s figures.

‘These figures are worryingly high, with the average journey to primary school being just 1.6 miles – a distance that can be easily cycled. To see an uptake in cycling, we need to make it easier for families to walk and cycle to school.

‘This will prevent those most vulnerable, such as children, from being exposed to toxic levels of air pollution while enabling them to easily slot in physical activity into their day.’