Cleaner, greener, safer school run continues as 13 School Streets made permanent
Islington Council is set to make 13 of its School Streets permanent, after monitoring data and feedback from local people reflected their positive impact in creating a cleaner, greener, healthier, and safer school run.
Reports published today show how the 13 schemes, which were introduced as 18-month trials in September 2020, have fulfilled the objectives of the School Streets programme, contributing to a reduction in air pollution, an improvement in safety by reducing traffic and speeds, and have helped children to exercise more.
School Streets are a key part of the council’s vision for a more equal borough, where all can travel easily. They work by preventing motor vehicles, other than those with exemptions, from using streets outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times. In doing so, they make it safer and easier for children to walk, cycle and scoot to school – bringing environmental, health, and educational benefits.
The council has been carefully monitoring the impact of the 13 trials, and held public consultations from September 2021 to October 2021 to find out more about their impact on children, parents, guardians, teachers and the local community. The reports on the monitoring data and public consultations, which can be read on full on the council’s website, reveal that:
- Across all schools, 61% of the 722 respondents to the consultations said School Streets were a positive change (11% asked for them to be discontinued).
- Of the children surveyed, 81% voiced support for School Streets, with safety stated as the main reason, followed by decreased stress and a decrease in air pollution.
- 60% of adult respondents noticed changes in how children, parents and guardians travelled to school (40% did not).
- Meanwhile, 61% of respondents said they felt safer during School Streets operating hours (27% said they did not feel safer).
- Traffic has fallen at 12 of the 13 School Streets, including an 83% fall at The Gower Primary School.
- Nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen at all schools, showing the trials have supported improvements in air quality.
- Traffic speeds have fallen at 10 School Streets, and remained the same on three.
The council is now making all 13 of the School Streets schemes permanent, with some changes being made on a trial basis at Hargrave Park Primary School, St Andrew’s Primary School, and Thornhill Primary School. Children, parents, guardians, teachers and those affected will receive further information about these changes soon.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Our School Streets are crucial to our efforts to tackle climate change, address air pollution, and create a more equal borough where all can travel easily.
“By making it easier and safer for children, parents and teachers to walk, cycle and scoot to school, they help local people to make healthier, more environmentally-friendly choices. Studies have also shown that active travel can increase a child’s concentration by four hours, highlighting the positive impacts School Streets can make to young people’s learning.
“We’re really pleased to see the positive impact that these 13 School Streets have made, and by making the schemes permanent we can continue to support children, parents and teachers to make cleaner, greener, healthier choices about how they travel.”
A total of 35 School Streets, covering 36 schools, have been introduced in Islington. In November 2020, Healthy Streets Scorecard revealed that, when taking into account planned and installed schemes, Islington had the highest proportion of schools on Schools Streets of any London borough.
Notes to editors
Public consultations are currently open so that local people can have their say on five School Streets that were introduced as 18-month trials in January 2021. Further information can be found on the council’s website.
The 13 School Streets being made permanent are as follows: Blessed Sacrament Primary School; Gillespie Primary School; St John’s Highbury Vale CofE Primary School; St Jude’s and St Paul’s CofE Primary School; St Mary Magdalene Primary School; St Mary’s Islington CofE Primary School; Tufnell Park Primary School; Vittoria primary School; The Gower Primary School; Hargrave Park Primary School; St Andrew’s CofE Primary School; Thornhill Primary School; Whitehall Park Primary School.
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