More ‘school streets’ to be rolled out after successful trials

Cash collected from drivers in LTNs will fund more road safety schemes outside primary schools

School streets schemes like this one at Kingfisher Hall Primary School in Enfield Highway temporarily stop motor vehicles from passing the school entrance when pupils are arriving and leaving
School streets schemes like this one at Kingfisher Hall Primary School in Enfield Highway temporarily stop motor vehicles from passing the school entrance when pupils are arriving and leaving (credit Enfield Council)

Twelve road safety schemes designed to protect schoolchildren will be made permanent, Enfield Council has confirmed.

The council completed trials of its ‘school streets’ schemes outside primary schools, which involve temporarily closing the roads outside school entrances to motor traffic for set periods of time when pupils are arriving and leaving.

The authority found these measures had successfully reduced air pollution in the areas close to the school gates, as well making the roads safer, and that most parents and residents had supported them.

School streets stay open to pedestrians, cyclists and residents of the street who have an exemption. Barriers are manually operated by school staff and parents who volunteer to marshal the schemes.

The council’s trials involved a six-month period of statutory consultation from September 2020, where the council gathered views from residents and parents and found 66% of people who took part said they wanted their school’s scheme to remain.

Now that the twelve school streets have been made permanent, the council will be introducing cameras to help enforce road closures. Money the council has received from driver fines at its low-traffic neighbourhood trials in Palmers Green and Bowes will be put towards the creation of more school streets next year.

Deputy leader Ian Barnes visited Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy in Enfield Highway to see the school street there in action. The school recorded a three-fold increase in children cycling, a 14% increase in walking, and a 29% fall in the number of students being dropped off by car.

Cllr Barnes said: “The safety of children travelling to and from school is of paramount importance to Enfield Council.

“As world leaders meet for the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, we continue to fight climate change in our borough, while making the school gates safer and less polluted for our children.

“Another batch of school streets will be announced before the end of this year, we’ll be using funding from camera fines from across the borough to help deliver these.”

Since its school street scheme began last year, levels of nitrogen monoxide measured outside Kingfisher Hall fell by 34%, while nitrogen dioxide dropped by 23%. Both are air pollutants that harm people’s health.

Headteacher Matt Clifford said: “My message to other schools thinking of starting a school streets scheme is to 100% do it. The initial worry we had about parent resistance and manning the barriers actually wasn’t a problem and the change has literally added benefit to the whole school community and we’re a happier, healthier school for it.”

The twelve newly permanent school street schemes – at Bush Hill Park, Chase Side, De Bohun, George Spicer, Hazelbury, Keys Meadow, Kingfisher Hall, Lavender, Meridian Angel, Raynham, St. Paul’s and Worcesters primary schools – are in addition to two school streets introduced in February 2020 at Oakthorpe and St Monica’s primary schools.

For more information on school streets:
Visit
enfield.gov.uk/services/improving-enfield/school-streets