London Evening Standard)
(Survey: Should parents be fined for driving their children to the school gate?
Yes: They create congestion & pollution
No: people should be free to drive where they want)
Ross Lydall 18.07.17
Parents who drive their children to the school gates face £130 fines under a pilot scheme to improve road safety and crack down on toxic air.
Croydon has become the latest London borough to impose restrictions on the “school run” — as it seeks to encourage families to walk or cycle instead.
Approach roads to three primaries will become “pedestrian zones” for a trial period of six months from September.
The restrictions will operate between 90 minutes and two hours before and after the end of the school day.
Teachers, residents and their visitors will be able to apply for a free “advance access permit” to avoid being charged.
Others caught by the council’s automatic numberplate recognition cameras will be fined £130, or £65 if the penalty is paid within a fortnight.
Stuart King, Croydon’s cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “We’re doing lots to make Croydon’s roads less polluted, less congested and more pedestrian-friendly, and this ‘school run’ pilot is another way of achieving this.
“We want to make Croydon a healthier and safer place for all our residents, especially for youngsters, so I urge as many people as possible in these pilot areas to get out of their cars and walk their children to school.”
It is the latest initiative to discourage traffic near schools. Earlier this year, Camden council introduced bollards to block access to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Covent Garden during drop-off and collection times.
In April, the Standard revealed that Hackney was banning vehicles from streets near St John the Baptist C of E primary, Hoxton, and Tyssen Community Primary, Stamford Hill, under a “School Streets” initiative. Motorists breaching the rules faced £130 fines.
London Pollution – In pictures
Councils such as Waltham Forest also threaten parents with £20 fines under anti-idling legislation to stop engines being left running at school gates.
Last month, Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence backed anti-idling fines outside schools.
Pollution is at illegal levels in 90 per cent of urban areas.
The Croydon schools in the trial are Woodcote, in Coulsdon, and Heavers Farm and St Chad’s in Selhurst. Physical barriers will not be installed. Signs will warn drivers, and council staff will marshal the pedestrian area.
Parents were sent letters this week announcing the plans. James Collins, a governor at Woodcote Primary, told the Croydon Advertiser: “There have been concerns for several years [that there could be] an accident happening with a child.” @RossLydall