London borough pilots ‘Healthy School Streets’ initiative
Camden Council is piloting a scheme under which roads near schools are closed as children arrive and depart, in a bid to encourage more pupils to walk and cycle to school.
In September 2016, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School became the first to see a nearby road closed as part of the ‘Healthy School Streets’ initiative, which is designed to protect children from traffic and pollution.
Macklin Street, which runs alongside the school, is closed between 08:30-09:15 and 15:15-16:00, Monday to Friday during term times. The street is closed by signage and enforced by bollards raised and lowered by school staff.
According to Camden Council, early indications suggest minimal impact on residents and businesses on the street, while parents are reporting a significant improvement in how safe they feel.
In an article on the BBC News website, Nicola Scott-Phillips, deputy head at St Joseph's, said there had been a ‘really positive reaction’ to the pilot, adding that the school, which has 300 pupils, has seen about a 50% reduction in the number children arriving by car.
Cllr Phil Jones, Camden Council, told the BBC: "Hopefully it'll spread. We've got a lot of problems in London with pollution and car domination so this is one way we can tackle those problems.”
As part of the initiative, Camden Council is also offering to help schools reduce the number of journeys being made by car by providing pedestrian and cycle training, and running events to raise awareness of and interest in walking and cycling.
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