NGOs call for urgent implementation of ‘School Streets’

Six out of ten parents are worried about increased levels of traffic when lockdown is lifted, prompting ten NGOs to call on councils to make walking and cycling safer for children when they travel to and from school.

Global Action Plan has joined with Mums for Lungs, Living Streets, Possible, ClientEarth, Cycling UK, Asthma UK & British Lung Foundation Partnership, FIA Foundation, Ella Roberta Family Foundation and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity, to recommend ‘School Street’ schemes, which close roads to cars during pick up and drop off times, as particularly important as schools try to manage social distancing at the school gates, along with street improvements to make every child’s journey safer to walk and cycle.   

Although six out of ten parents are worried about increased levels of traffic when lockdown is lifted, 53 per cent of parents plan to walk or cycle more than they did before after lockdown, and the vast majority of those that plan to be more active (79 per cent) say that restricting vehicle access at certain times of the day would be helpful.

In response to the survey, the NGOs are calling on councils to use £280 million of funding that has been made available by the governments to build cycle lanes, widen pavements and restrict motor traffic to make our neighbourhoods safer.

Chris Large, senior partner at Global Action Plan, said: “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 the lockdown shouldn’t be a postcode lottery.”