Hackney launches 8th ‘School Street’

St Mary’s C of E primary school has become the eighth school in Hackney to ban traffic outside the school during pick-up and drop-off times.

The school in Stoke Newington has signed up to the ‘School Streets’ initiative, which runs across London but is now also being introduced outside the capital. In September, a Sustrans poll revealed 90% of parents and residents would back a School Streets scheme in their area.

The school will also receive an air pollution blocking ‘green screen’ through the council’s ‘newly refreshed’ Green Screen for Schools programme.

The St Mary’s launch came as the authority announced a further nine schools would consult on introducing School Streets in the next year.

Subject to the results of the consultations, this would see the council reach its target of introducing 17 School Streets in 2021 a year earlier than planned.

A recent review of Hackney’s first four School Streets showed that traffic and vehicle emissions outside the school gates is down and the number of children walking and cycling to school is up.

The schemes have also proved popular with residents with the latest consultations showing 86% and 69 % support.

(From L to R) Cllr Sade Etti, Cllr Sophie Cameron, Jane O’Brien, headteacher at St Mary’s and Cllr Jon Burke.

Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm said: ‘We’re committed to tackling London’s toxic air, reducing the motor vehicle emissions driving the climate emergency and reclaiming our roads for walking and cycling.

‘By delivering our manifesto target to introduce Schools Streets at a third of Hackney primary schools a year early, we can go even further and expand School Streets to all primary schools in the borough, making it easier and safer for kids to walk and cycle to school.

‘Given the success of the pilot and the urgent need to improve air quality and get more people walking and cycling, from January 2021 all primary schools in the borough will be automatically enrolled and considered, unless they opt out.’

Last month, the results of an innovative study that saw 250 schoolchildren have backpacks fitted with air quality sensors revealed that children were exposed to on average five-times-higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on the school run than when they were at school.