Camden is consulting on a proposed Healthy School Street zone in South Hampstead, around the following schools:
. South Hampstead High School (both junior and senior sites),
. North Bridge House Pre-Preparatory School,
. Southbank International School
. Holy Trinity Primary School
They propose timed camera-enforced road closures at school opening and closing times Monday to Friday during school term time only.
We think that this is an excellent scheme and follows on from other successful schemes in other parts of Camden. However, there may be significant opposition from drivers including taxi-drivers. If you live in the area and/or particularly if you have children who attend any of these schools please reply in support of the proposal which you can find at https://consultations.wearecamden.org/supporting-communities/nofhss/ We think that Option B is the best. The deadline for replies is October 11th.
A local group called ‘Green School Runs’ has already been working to try to reduce the impact of the school run in this area and are also in favour of option B. They have put together an excellent explanation and answer to questions which is included below. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
What is Healthy School Streets?
It’s a simple idea — to temporarily close the roads around schools at drop-off and pick-up times. Only pedestrians and cyclists are allowed to use them at school pick up and drop off times. Signs are put up to inform drivers of the road closure, and barriers or cameras can be used to enforce it. Exemptions will be given to all residents vehicles and all residents with off street parking within the restricted zone, residents in the zone with a Blue Disabled Badge, and all pure electric vehicles can enter the zone during the restricted times. Emergency vehicles would also be exempt.
Why Healthy School Streets?
In London more than 9,500 people a year die prematurely as a result of exposure to pollution. Air pollution affects children far more than adults with symptoms ranging from cancer to asthma. The situation is worse in London where children are growing up with smaller lungs and higher levels of asthma – the UK has one of the highest asthma rates worldwide. According to the British Lung Foundation, children breathe faster and more deeply than adults, spend more time outside and are closer to car exhausts, all of which lead to a higher exposure to toxic fumes.
Reasons to support Healthy School Streets that can inform your reply to the consultation:
- The schools covered by this scheme have levels of air pollution abovethe legal and safe limit as defined by the EU. This scheme will help reduce those levels to something less damaging for these pupils as well as for local residents.
- The proposed Healthy School Street zone will help to reduce demand for car journeys as itmakes it safer to walk, cycle and scoot to the schools that sit on or near these roads.
- The proposed Healthy School Street zone will force people to park far away from the schools covered by this scheme, thus making alternatives to driving (public transport, walking, cycling, school buses, car sharing etc.) more convenient and appealing. This is supported by the evidence of existing Healthy SchoolStreets project, which have led to a significant reduction in pupils being driven to school.
- The proposed Healthy School Street zone will allow local residents to reclaim their roads, and stop being negatively affected by the school run traffic (ie. noise, pollution, road congestion).
- Healthy School Streets are always implemented on a trial basis only to begin with. If at the end of the trial period problems emerge, these can be addressed and if necessary the scheme can be scrapped altogether.
- Healthy schools streets schemes do cause a minimum amount of traffic displacement to adjacent areas. However, existing schemes have proven that traffic displacement is limited and overall traffic is reduced. Moreover, traffic displacement can be addressed by subsequent interventions.
- Camden air quality team will monitor air pollution level before and during the trial. Data from this monitoring will inform the decision to maintain or scrap the Healthy School Street scheme.
- Healthy School Streets helps to raise awareness about the link between vehicle emissions and health problems, giving food for thought to everyone who passes the road closures – not just people directly affected by it.
- A recent TfL study revealed that around 25% of the morning rush hour traffic in London is parents dropping children off. Healthy Schools Streets are a powerful way to change this situation.
Evidence of the benefits of Healthy School Streets
- There is evidence Healthy School Streets work: a trial at a primary school in Eltham resulted in a 54% reduction in cars driving to school, a 27% increase in cycling and 9% increase in scooting.
- “Before it was introduced, it was really stressful taking the children to school. It was total chaos. Now my kids say they feel much calmer coming to school.” — Parent discussing an existing Healthy School Street scheme.
- A powerful video about a successful School Streets project in Hackney: https://youtu.be/kwVRosXefEg
· Evidence these schemes work is in the numbers: in London, currently 19 councils (Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster) have already implemented or are planning to implement School Streets.