Councils urged to create ‘school streets’ for children’s safety

Photo © Living Streets

Councils in the UK have been urged to close roads to cars during school pick up and drop off times to make journeys safer and manage social distancing at the school gates.

A group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have issued the plea, after a survey showed that six out of ten parents are worried about increased levels of traffic once the pandemic lockdown is lifted. They believe that councils can make it safer for children to cycle and walk to school when they re-open by creating ‘school street’ schemes.

A ‘school street’ closes the road to cars during pick up and drop off times, and this is particularly important as schools try to manage social distancing at the school gates, while making every child’s journey safer as they walk or cycle to school.

The UK-based NGOs taking part are Global Action Plan, 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.

‘Councils should listen to public feedback’

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.”

The group says councils should listen to public feedback and follow the Government’s social distancing guidelines to help ensure children’s safety. Their plea comes following the survey commissioned by Global Action Plan, which found that more than half of parents (53 per cent) plan to walk or cycle more than they did before the lockdown was imposed in March. The vast majority (79 per cent) of those who say they intend to be more active say restricting vehicle access at certain times would be helpful.

Author: Simon Weedy

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