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Islington parents could face school-run car ban to improve air pollution

Recommendation comes after a six-month review of the effects of pollution

02 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Labour councillor Martin Klute: ‘Quite a lot of parents are prone to pull up anywhere and let their kids jump out of a roadside door’

PARENTS could be stopped from parking near schools to pick up or drop off their children due to plans to make the borough’s air cleaner.

The recommendation comes after a six-month review of the effects of pollution in Islington.

It has also been suggested that roads near schools should be closed at the beginning and end of the school day, like neighbouring borough Hackney, and Camden, where the policy is on trial.

Labour councillor Martin Klute, who is chairman of the Town Hall’s health and care scrutiny committee which put together the 11 suggestions, said: “It’s a multi-pronged issue because there’s the pollution aspect of it, which is people running their engines outside their school, and it’s a well known fact you get a lot more pollution sitting in a car than walking along the pavement.

“There’s a health implication – if you prevent parking, then they will walk – and then there is a residual safety issue. Quite a lot of parents are prone to pull up anywhere and let their kids jump out of a roadside door.”

Currently, there is an informal 10-minute grace period for parents but this could be banished for a “zero tolerance” rule, with the only exception for blue badge holders.

Natasha Cox, chairwoman of the Tufnell Park Parents group, said: “There are some parents who drive but, as a general rule, they are worried about pollution. I know people have left the area because of it. I think it would be largely supported.”

The committee also wants the council to lobby the government to introduce more legislation on idling vehicles.

Islington estimates 60 per cent of the borough is over EU air pollution limits, with the south of the borough the most polluted.

Environment chief Councillor Claudia Webbe said the council’s approach to air pollution has been “ground-breaking”, including bringing in a £2 extra surcharge for diesel car drivers who park in the borough.

“I don’t believe any borough can tackle it by itself as the wind will blow across boroughs. It requires partnership across boroughs London-wide, and requires action from a government level,” she added.

Green Party councillor Caroline Russell said she didn’t understand why there was a 10-minute grace period already in place. She added: “Zero tolerance is a really sensible policy as we need to be giving people the very clear message that it is not good to pick them up from school in cars.”

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