William Eichler 17 May 2019

Hackney publishes guide to banning traffic outside schools

Hackney Council has launched a new toolkit designed to help local authorities ban traffic outside of schools at opening and closing times.

The London borough introduced School Streets schemes, which limit traffic outside of schools, in 2017. There are five currently in operation with two more launching in the coming weeks.

The schemes are aimed at reducing the number of cars outside schools, improving air quality at the school gates and making it easier for children to walk and cycle to school.

Public Health England estimates that there are between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year related to air pollution.

Poor air quality is linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer. It also exacerbates asthma.

The council reports that since introducing School Streets the proportion of children cycling to participating schools has increased by over 50%, with traffic outside the schools reducing by around two-thirds.

The free guide, known as the School Streets toolkit, will support councils nationwide to launch similar schemes.

‘Our pioneering School Streets have been incredibly successful so far, with widespread support from children, parents, teachers and local people,’ said Cllr Feryal Demirci, deputy mayor of Hackney.

‘They also go so much further than simply banning idling outside schools - they make the streets outside places for everyone, tackle poor air quality and tackle the obesity crisis by making it easier for kids to walk or cycle to school.

‘We’ve had lots of interest in School Streets from as far afield as Toronto and Singapore and feel that we have a duty to share our new toolkit with councils nationwide, as we want to see schools transformed and the school-run become a thing of the past.’

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