Schoolchildren celebrate greener, healthier streets outside Robert Blair Primary School
Schoolchildren, parents, and carers are set to benefit from cleaner air, greener streets, and a more pleasant atmosphere outside the school gate following a series of improvements at Robert Blair Primary School.
To help support its efforts to tackle the climate emergency and create a more equal future, where it’s easier to travel, the council has so far introduced 35 School Streets. These work by temporarily closing off streets outside 36 Islington primary schools to motor vehicles at drop-off and pick-up times, to make it easier for everyone to walk, cycle, and wheel as green alternatives to driving.
However, Robert Blair is one of 10 Islington primary schools that are located on roads where it’s not possible to introduce temporary traffic restrictions.
So that these schools are still able to experience the huge benefits of School Streets, the council is engaging with all 10 schools to understand how the school gate can be transformed into a greener, more welcoming environment for all.
At the end of 2022, the council held a public consultation to hear from children, parents, teachers, carers, and the local community about the improvements they’d like to see outside Robert Blair Primary School.
To mark London Climate Action Week, the council can announce that, having listened carefully to the feedback, it has made the following transformative improvements outside the school:
- Widening the footpath on Brewery Road and Blundell Street, to move pollution from vehicles further away from the school. The council has also created continuous footways – uninterrupted paths that run across a side road – to give priority to people walking, instead of vehicles.
- New greening – including trees and planting beds – to create a more pleasant and biodiverse atmosphere outside the school.
- Creating new seating outside the school, for parents and families to rest and chat.
- Introducing cycle parking stands outside the school, to support those walking, cycling, or scooting during the school run.
- Resurfacing the pavements on Brewery Road and Blundell Street, so that it’s easier to walk, and use buggies and wheelchairs.
- Students will also be helping the council to design colourful artwork, which will be painted onto the road outside the school to encourage drivers to reduce their speed.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport, said: “Children are our future, and here in Islington we’re working to ensure that our young people grow up in the best possible environment so that they can fulfil their potential.
"Creating a greener and more attractive space outside the school gate, where the toxic effects of air pollution are reduced, is key to achieving that. Our School Streets have contributed to a borough-wide improvement in air quality, and have also directly supported children’s health, learning, and development by helping them to exercise more regularly.
“We’ve listened carefully to children, parents, guardians, teachers and the local community on improvements at Robert Blair, and we’re delighted to have delivered more attractive, greener streets outside the school.”
Robert Blair is the third Islington primary school on a main road to benefit from environmentally-friendly improvements, following works at Ambler and Canonbury primary schools last year. The council has also been speaking with the local community about the changes they’d like to see outside Montem and Samuel Rhodes Primary Schools, and will be announcing the next steps for these schools soon.
Plans are also in place for secondary schools to be transformed into School Streets – starting with three during the 2023/24 financial year.