School Streets launched to improve air quality and promote active travel

Two Southend-on-Sea primary schools are supporting the Council with an innovative scheme aimed at promoting active travel and improving air quality near our schools.

School Streets is a new pilot scheme which restricts access to motor vehicles on the road outside the two pilot primary schools – Greenways and Leigh North Street - during school drop-off and pick-up times throughout school term time.

School traffic and through traffic will not be allowed during these times, but school staff will be able to access the schools, and residents that live within the restricted area have been supplied with permit stickers to allow access. The council trained school staff – known as School Street Marshals - to deploy and collect the School Street barriers and follow strict health and safety training.

The idea behind the scheme is to reduce carbon emissions being omitted from motor vehicles outside of schools and to promote other forms of active travel, such as cycling or walking to school.

The experimental traffic regulation order came into effect Monday 23 November and will be in operation Monday to Friday between 8:15am – 9:15am and 2:30pm – 3:30pm at Greenways, and 8:30am – 9:30am and 2:30pm – 3:30pm at North Street, term time only, for the next 12 months.

This initiative is being funded through the Department for Transport (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Funding.

Two further primary schools will also start up the scheme in January following detailed assessments, with further announcements to be made in the coming weeks. The council has adopted a staggered approach to the launch of this scheme to ensure all schools involved have suitable support for their respective launches.

Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member for transport, said: “The School Streets project will not only encourage active travel such as cycling and walking and result in a safer, healthier and more pleasant environment for all, but will also allow more space for safe social distancing.

“We will be piloting outside these two schools for the next 12 months to allow us to see the impact throughout the various seasons of the year. Our hope is to roll this out to other schools if the pilot proves successful. It is important to note that this scheme is only viable on residential roads, so as not to have a huge impact on traffic flow in and out of the town at busy times.

“I am confident these schools will see the benefits of this project, and I look forward to seeing the impact this will have on air quality in the areas over the coming months.”

The roads involved are Greenways, Southend-on-Sea and North Street, Leigh-on-Sea. Roads will be coned off and martialled by trained School Street Marshals.

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