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Car Free School Streets are coming to Birmingham

Published: 9th Jul 2019

A pioneering scheme that closes roads around schools to motorised traffic for up to an hour at the start and end of the school day is being piloted in Birmingham from this September.

Many schools experience traffic related issues at the start and end of the school days, so the Car Free School Streets initiative aims to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality at the school gates. It will also make it easier and safer for children to get to and from school.

Following on from successful schemes already being operated by other local authorities, including Solihull, the Birmingham pilot will initially be introduced at six schools, with plans to roll this out to more schools across the city in the future.

The schools involved are Alston Primary (Heartlands), Chilcote Primary (Hall Green South), Cofton Primary (Longbridge & West Heath), Featherstone Primary (Stockland Green), Nelson Primary (Ladywood), and St Francis CE Primary (Bournville & Cotteridge).

Local residents living on the streets affected will be issued with permits to access their properties and there will be some other exemptions, including blue badge holders and emergency services. Anyone else driving in the restricted zone at these times can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice charge of £50.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said:

“School Streets are places where we should put children and families first, by encouraging walking, scooting and cycling, and keeping people safe and healthy. Introducing Car Free School Streets will support a move towards more sustainable modes of travel and help improve air quality across the city.

“Air pollution affects everyone in Birmingham, but especially children. Transport is responsible for around 80 per cent of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and the school gate is a location where we are particularly exposed to this. These closures will really benefit local communities, improving people’s health and the environment.

“This is a pilot scheme but ultimately I want every school in the city to be a clean air safe haven for our children.”

In Birmingham, this scheme will be delivered as part of the Modeshift STARS scheme, which provides a range of activities and initiatives that support safer, greener and healthier travel to school. This includes resources to help tackle illegal, dangerous and inconsiderate parking outside schools as well as to encourage people to switch off their engines.

The council will monitor and assess the impact of Car Free School Streets before deciding whether this should be made permanent, as well as identifying opportunities to expand the scheme to other suitable locations in 2020.

Further information can be found here.