A primary school in York is to be the first in the region to close its street to cars to tackle congestion at the school gates.
Today’s initiative, part of Sustran’s Big Pedal competition, will see Jubilee Terrace outside St Barnabus Primary closed from shortly after midday until 4pm.
The school joins 40 others across the country, hoping to improve air quality and safety outside of schools.
“By closing the road outside the school to motor traffic during pick up time, we hope that we will see a reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates, as well as children, parents and residents coming together to enjoy the benefits of a safer, cleaner street environment,” said headteacher Karen Boardman.
Sustran’s Big Pedal, until April 5, will see thousands of children complete to walk, scoot or cycle their school journeys.
A poll, released by the charity today, has found that nearly two thirds of teachers would support a ban such as that in place outside St Barnabus today.
More than half wanted the Government to take urgent action to improve air quality near schools.
Rosslyn Colderley, director of Sustrans in the North, said: “This is a great chance to experience the street as a place for people, not cars, and to try alternative ways of travel.
“Our survey makes it clear that teachers want urgent action to clean up toxic fumes. Teachers see closing the roads outside their school as an effective solution but need support from local authorities to enact change.”
Charity Sustrans has called upon local and national government to implement clean air legislation to tackle motorised traffic, including large scale investment in walking and cycling to enable more people to choose healthier travel.
Coun Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment at York Council, said: “Reducing the amount of traffic in and around our schools and encouraging more people to turn off their engines will not only help improve air quality but children’s health too.”