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Birmingham city to pilot car free school streets

In September the Birmingham City Council will ban vehicles from roads that surround six schools. The roads will be closed for about an hour at the start and end of each school day. The goal is to reduce traffic, improve the air quality at the school gates and to make it easier and safer for children to get to and from school. 

The plan is to start with the following six schools; Alston Primary, Chilcote Primary, Cofton Primary, Featherstone Primary, Nelson Primary, and St Francis CE Primary. Thereafter the programme will be extended to other locations within the city.

The ban will not affect local residents living on the streets as they will be given permits to access their properties and there will be some other exemptions including people with disabilities and emergency service providers. For everyone else driving during the restricted time will face a penalty of £50.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar who is the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “School Streets are places where we should put children and families first, by encouraging walking, scooting and cycling, and keeping people safe and healthy. Introducing Car Free School Streets will support a move towards more sustainable modes of travel and help improve air quality across the city.”

Continuing he added, “Air pollution affects everyone in Birmingham, but especially children. Transport is responsible for around 80 per cent of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and the school gate is a location where we are particularly exposed to this. These closures will really benefit local communities, improving people’s health and the environment. This is a pilot scheme but ultimately I want every school in the city to be a clean air safe haven for our children.”

The impact of Car Free School Streets will be monitored and evaluated before deciding if this should be a  permanent way of life.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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