Cars could soon be banned from driving down roads where schools are located

Cars could soon be banned from driving down roads where schools are located
Cars could soon be banned from driving down roads where schools are located

Cars could soon be banned from driving down roads where there are schools, in a bid to improve air quality.

Environmentalists in Portsmouth have urged councillors to introduce the ban, after the city has come under fire for it dangerously high pollution levels.

Clean air zones

The latest readings of dangerous nitrous dioxide (NO2) in Portsmouth show that 16 areas in the city are currently above the ‘safe’ level – four more than in 2017.

The worrying pollution levels could see the city have a Clean Air Zone imposed, which could force drivers to pay up to £8 per day to use their cars.

Leeds, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham and Southampton are all required to introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020, in an effort to tackle pollution levels.

Now environmentalist group, Portsmouth Friends of the Earth, are urging councillors to take similar action in Portsmouth.

‘School Streets’

The group have proposed to councillors to implement ‘School Streets’ in the city, which will prevent drivers from dropping off and picking up their children in certain areas.

Group coordinator, Rachel Hudson, told The Metro: “Our view is that people need safe and pleasant streets, and if they have them they are more likely to walk, cycle and use their cars less.

“Some of our B roads in Portsmouth are so busy, so noisy and so dangerous – they’re not attractive to pedestrians.

Environmentalists have proposed drivers should be prevented from dropping off and picking up their children in certain areas (Photo: Shutterstock)
Environmentalists have proposed drivers should be prevented from dropping off and picking up their children in certain areas (Photo: Shutterstock)

“And cars are one of the biggest contributors to NO2 and CO2 levels.”

To combat the issue, the group have suggested closing school streets for through traffic at the beginning and end of the school day.

The closure would still allow residents to get through, but it would mean “children will be safer from traffic and pollution”.

A trial process?

Councillor Suzy Horton, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education, said two schools in the city have already been identified for a possible trial of the scheme, which will affect thousands of families.

However, the proposal to introduce the driving ban has been met with concerns, with Fernhurst Junior School head teacher, Roberta Kirby, questioning how residents might react.

She said, “My initial reaction is that I would be in favour of this, although I do think someone needs to properly consider how it will work.

“You can’t just say, ‘Let’s close the road.’

“We are on a very busy road, but I think this scheme would work very well here as there are lots of roads around us that could still be used to get around if our road is closed.

“Children could easily be dropped off around the corner to the schools. I do wonder how residents would feel about it, though.”

The scheme has already been successfully introduced in a number of other authorities in the UK, with Edinburgh, Hackney and Southwark all operating permanent ‘School Streets’.

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