Cars should be banned from school gates

Celebrating Walk to School Week, Living Streets has set out 21 recommendations to enable more children to walk to and from school and fight air pollution.

Asking Transport Minister Jesse Norman to take urgent action to improve the walk to school, the call includes a call for vehicles to be banned from the school gates at drop off and pick up times. This follows research by the charity which found that 42 per cent of parents are concerned about levels of air pollution around their child’s school, and more than 2,000 UK primary schools situated in pollution hotspots.

Vehicles are the largest contributor to air pollution and one in four cars on the road at peak times are on the school run. Therefore, Living Streets says that cutting unnecessary car journeys and enabling more families to walk to school must be part of the solution.

The charity’s research revealed that more than half of parents are concerned about the health issues air pollution causes their children, with 36 per cent taking pollution levels into account when choosing a school for their child. A further 30 per cent had been put off walking their children to school because of the poor air quality with 21 per cent holding the misconception that children are protected from air pollution inside the car.

Jenni Wiggle, cirector of Local Impact at Living Streets, said: “More children walking to school means fewer vehicles on the road and improved air quality for everyone. We want more children to enjoy the benefits of walking to school and so are calling on the government, local authorities and schools to work together to support families to choose to walk.

“We would like to see more local authorities working with schools to ban people from driving up to the school gate - adding to air pollution, congestion and road danger during drop off and pick up. Walking to school not only improves our air quality but is a great way for children to build more exercise into their daily lives, helping them to arrive to school healthier, happier and ready to learn.”

Walk to School Week takes place from 21-25 May 2018.