Thousands of schools across the country are taking measures such as closing roads and setting up park and stride schemes
Matthew TaylorLast modified on Fri 13 Jul 2018 22.05 BST
Schools across the country are moving to ban the school run amid growing concern about the devastating impact of air pollution on young people’s health.
The Guardian has found that thousands of schools in cities and towns – from Edinburgh to London, Manchester to Ellesmere Port – are taking measures to try to deter parents using their cars. These include closing roads, setting up “park and stride” schemes, walk-to-school initiatives and “playing dead” protests.
Kathryn Shaw, from the charity Living Streets, said more families and schools were becoming aware of the impact of air pollution on young people’s health, as well as concerns over road safety.
“When parents drive up to the school gates, it’s not just their children they’re dropping off for the day,” she said. “The toxic fumes from the cars stay too. A lot of parents don’t want to drive all the way but feel there is no other option.”
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But now schools, local councils and public health experts are beginning to take action. In Edinburgh parents have been banned from dropping their children off at nine schools. The scheme has been so successful it is now being rolled out to others across the city. In London, Hackney council has closed the roads outside five schools and the initiative is due to be extended to another 12 sites. A similar programme is to be launched in Westminster where the council says a range of options – including road closures – will be on offer from September.
In Alloa, Scotland children lay down and played dead in the road to highlight concerns around road safety and pollution outside their school. And in Stockport one primary school has introduced a “park and stride” scheme based in a local pub car park in a bid to stop parents driving to the school gates.