London parents could face ban on taking kids to school by car 

Parents who use a car on the school run will be fined up to £130 in parts of London to tackle air pollution and dangerous driving, the Standard has learned.

The unprecedented action is being taken around two primaries and could be copied across the capital as part of the escalating battle against toxic air.

Cars will be banned from streets near the schools at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times and pupils will have to walk or cycle to lessons.

Hackney council is behind the “School Streets” intiative, at St John the Baptist C of E primary, Hoxton, and Tyssen community primary, Stamford Hill.

If popular it plans to extend the move which could spell the end of the school run, a significant contributor to rush-hour gridlock if it catches on.

Feryal Demirci, Hackney’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, transport and parks, told the Standard: “Too many children in Hackney are driven to school. It’s bad for air quality and it’s bad for their health.

“School Streets is one thing we’re doing to try to make it safer and easier for children to walk and cycle to school.”

She said “shocking footage” of cars driving on the pavement outside Tyssen primary showed more action was needed.

Parents are divided about the crackdown, which comes ahead of the Government’s latest plans to tackle toxic air.

Mother-of-one Tara Faley, 24, said dangerous drivers were putting lives at risk and were “completely oblivious to everything else and people just park or drive where they want”.

Psychiatrist and mother-of-two Amina Rawat, 44, said: “The school needs to help parents find another way to drop their kids off.

“There has to be an alternative. The fine is a lot of money — especially for families here.”

Tyssen headteacher Jackie Benjamin said she hoped the traffic restrictions would improve air quality and road safety.

The dramatic measures were requested by parents and teachers who could no longer tolerate the behaviour of “road-rage” drivers who were held up behind the cars of parents dropping their children at the gates.

Ms Benjamin said: “I have been here two years and noticed straight away we have a problem with traffic.

“Other staff said they have been fighting it for 10 years. What is planned is to put a camera at the bottom of the road to take images of cars coming down when they should not. They will be fined by a fixed penalty notice.”

The penalty will be £130, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days. The first School Street will be Crondall Street outside St John the Baptist, starting in June, after consultation.

The second would be Oldhill Street outside Tyssen —  which takes children as young as two — from September.

Extraordinary video footage at Tyssen shows cars and even a van mounting the kerb and driving illegally along the pavement while horrified pedestrians dodge out of the way.

School CCTV shows vehicles driving on the inside of the barrier placed near the entrance to stop pupils running into the path of cars.

Police have written to the drivers responsible warning they will be prosecuted if they continue.

However, the Standard later witnessed the same outrageous driving last Friday.

Vans and mopeds mounted the pavement to overtake stationary traffic as children and parents passed. Just after 8.25am a courier and white delivery van drove onto the kerb as pupils headed to school.

Miss Faley said: “I was walking with my four-year-old son the other day and a car mounted the pavement to avoid the traffic jam.

“It’s outrageous and unacceptable with so many people around at these times. I’ve had at least 10 arguments where I’ve had to tell people to be careful with their driving.

“After school, children want to run around with their friends, but it’s very dangerous.” She added, however: “£130 is a very steep fine.”

Mona Hussain, 29, said: “You cannot cross the road safely and cars are parked everywhere.

“I support what the school is doing to make everything safer, but the fine is a lot of money just for dropping your children off.”

Sultana Miah, 23, said the restriction would put her off using a car during the school run but “is harsh on parents”.

Automatic number plate recognition will be used identify offenders. Blue Badge holders will be automatically exempt and residents and businesses can register to be exempt.

Council staff and teachers are expected to be on the street when the scheme is introduced to inform motorists.

Restrictions would apply between 8.30am-9.15am and 3.15pm-4pm. Vehicles parked in the street before they come into force will be able to drive out of it without a fine. Penalty notices will be delivered to offenders by post.

This week Mayor Sadiq Khan confirmed plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2019.

Motorists with the dirtiest vehicles will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive into central London.

The zone will later be expanded to the South and North Circulars.

Within days Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom is expected to unveil the Government’s latest blueprint to deal with toxic air after judges twice ruled that its proposals were too weak.

Other London councils are also stepping up action. Parents who leave cars idling outside several schools in Waltham Forest will risk £20 fines, the Standard recently revealed.

Bollards are being put up either side of narrow Macklin Street in Camden between 8.30am and 9.15am and 3.15pm and 4pm to protect pupils attending St Joseph’s Catholic primary from traffic and pollution.

Source: London parents could face ban on taking kids to school by car | London Evening Standard

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