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Ban on rush-hour through traffic at primary schools

Town Hall announces initial plans for roads at six schools, but ‘bold’ aim is to make it borough wide

26 October, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Children at Rotherfield Primary, one of the first six schools

THE Town Hall has announced plans to ban through traffic from roads in front of all primary schools during school rush-hours.

The council this week launched a consultation asking residents whether they agreed with plans to close a handful of roads around six primary schools during term time from 8.45am to 9.30am and 3.15pm to 4pm.

But the council’s transport chief, Councillor Claudia Webbe, told the Tribune she hopes to roll out “bold” plans for similar measures at all primary schools in the next few years.

Residents and businesses who live and work on school streets will be given exemptions while non-registered vehicles “may be identified by camera and issued with a penalty charge notice”, according to the council. Disabled people with blue badges will be exempt­­ed.

Cllr Webbe said of the plan to extend the traffic bans to all primary schools: “It’s a bold move and we would be the first in London to do it, but we think the problems with air pollution and safety for children are that serious.”

According to the consultations, the Town Hall is currently planning to block through traffic around Yerbury, Duncombe, Rotherfield, Ambler, Ashmount and Drayton Park primary schools.

David Harrison, from Islington Living Streets, which campaigns for better pedestrian access, has welcomed the plans.

“They are a great idea and have been tremendously successful in other boroughs,” he said. “What’s happened in Hackney has been fantastic.

“We should remember that Islington is a borough where around 70 per cent don’t have access to a car so I think we should support moves that make it easier to get students to school.]

“What is great is to enable children who walk to school to escape from air pollution and the danger created by cars. It will also address the childhood obesity epidemic.”

Cllr Webbe hopes her plans will “tackle the high level of air pollution affecting the borough and particularly the vulnerable lungs of children”.

She added: “We consider that the air-quality crisis is a life-or-death situation and that we have a duty to protect our children. Our plan is to roll this out gradually over the course of the next few years to all our primary schools.

“We have now started the second series of consultations to build awareness with schools and parents. It’s important to keep children safe and reduce road danger.”

Resident Liz Case, from Tufnell Park, had concerns over how delivery drivers would access homes and community centres.

“I worry about the carers and those driving to nurseries and sheltered housing,” she said. “Will parking bays become redundant during these hours? What if people who don’t have disabled badges but have access problems want to drive to parks such as Whittington Park during these hours?”

The consultation, which can be found on the council website, closes on November 4.


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