A group of ten NGOs have submitted an urgent call to councils to make walking and cycling safer as schools begin to reopen this week (June 1).
A survey commissioned by Global Action Plan and carried out by Opinium found that six out of ten parents are worried about increased levels of traffic once lockdown is lifted.
Increased traffic will lead to increased air pollution, this is particularly dangerous with scientists warning that Coronavirus may be more dangerous for people whose lungs are affected by air pollution.
According to the survey, around half of expecting mothers and parents of children under ten are now much more concerned about air pollution.
Over half (53%) plan to walk or cycle more than they did before lockdown and the vast majority of those say that restricting vehicle access at certain times of day would be helpful.
Based on this research, a group of ten NGOs, including Global Action Plan, Mums for Lungs, Client Earth and the British Lung Foundation have come together with an urgent call to councils to make walking and cycling safer so children can travel to and from school safely when schools reopen.
The NGOs have recommended ‘School Street’ schemes, this would see the closure of roads to cars during pickup and drop off times.
Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan says: ‘Returning to school is full of anxieties for parents and simple street improvements would drastically reduce the worry over children being able to get to school safely. Some Local Authorities are doing a great job of making active travel safer, but some have not even started.
‘Whether a child’s neighbourhood keeps low traffic and clean air beyond the end of lockdown shouldn’t be a postcode lottery.’
Dr Alison Cook, director of external affairs at the British Lung Foundation added: ‘Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to our health.
‘It increases everyone’s risk of respiratory disease and children’s lungs are particularly vulnerable. As children start to go back to school, it’s more important than ever that we protect their lungs through initiatives like School Streets.’
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