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Traffic-free roads outside schools ‘supported by public’

A survey suggests there are concerns about the effect of fumes from car exhausts on children.

Many people are concerned about the impact of fumes caused by car exhausts on children’s health (PA)
Many people are concerned about the impact of fumes caused by car exhausts on children’s health (PA)

By Alison Kershaw, PA Education Correspondent

Parents and residents support the idea of traffic-free streets outside schools, according to a survey.

Many people are concerned about the impact of fumes caused by car exhausts on children’s health, a survey by Sustrans suggests.

The charity has called on government at all levels, at the start of Bike to School Week, which begins on Monday, to take action to cut traffic around the school gates and make it easier for families to walk and cycle to school.

A survey conducted by Sustrans of parents and residents living near schools found that 90% would support street closures happening more regularly outside their school.

More than a third (35%) said they are very worried about the health impact of car exhaust fumes at school drop-off and pick-up times, while a further 40% said they are fairly worried.

Urgent action from governments at all levels to provide meaningful investment in walking and cycling infrastructure is necessary so that every child is able to travel to school on foot or by cycle in safety and with confidence Xavier Brice, Sustrans

The poll was conducted during and after a school streets event in which there were timed traffic restrictions on roads outside school gates.

Xavier Brice, chief executive at Sustrans said: “We all know that we are living with dangerous levels of air pollution in our towns and cities.

“Despite this, the latest figures from the National Travel Survey show that 45% of primary school children in England travel to school by car – a 1% increase from last year’s figures.

“These figures are worryingly high, with the average journey to primary school being just 1.6 miles – a distance that can be easily cycled.

“To see an uptake in cycling, we need to make it easier for families to walk and cycle to school.

“This will prevent those most vulnerable, such as children, from being exposed to toxic levels of air pollution while enabling them to easily slot in physical activity into their day.

“Urgent action from governments at all levels to provide meaningful investment in walking and cycling infrastructure is necessary so that every child is able to travel to school on foot or by cycle in safety and with confidence.”

– The survey questioned 954 parents, carers and residents in England, Scotland and Wales.

PA

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