Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham schools to ban cars from surrounding roads

Stock image of a father walking with his children Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is hoped the scheme will not only address traffic problems, but also concerns over air quality

Streets outside six Birmingham schools are to ban cars driven by non-residents in a crackdown on traffic and parents' problem parking.

Under a pilot scheme, unpermitted vehicles encroaching on the areas before and after school face a fine.

The move - from September - is a first for the city, although similar schemes have been adopted by other councils, including nearby Solihull.

One councillor said the move would benefit communities and improve health.

The thinking is that not only would clogged streets be addressed, and in turn lessen the traffic risk to pupils, air quality might be boosted too, with walking to school also encouraged.

According to the Safer Streets scheme, there are about 60 projects across the UK in which school traffic is managed in this way.

In Birmingham, the streets will become pedestrian and cycle zones for agreed times of about 30 minutes to an hour.

The council says residents can apply for permits allowing them to drive without restriction during the periods in question.

Others will also be exempt, including Blue Badge-holders and emergency services.

Anyone else driving in the restricted zones at the wrong time can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £50, according to the authority.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Cofton Primary School is among those where the scheme is to be piloted

The Birmingham schemes will be introduced at Alston Primary in Heartlands; Chilcote Primary in Hall Green South; Cofton Primary in Longbridge and West Heath; Featherstone Primary in Stockland Green; Nelson Primary in Ladywood; and St Francis CE Primary in Bournville and Cotteridge.

The schools applied to take part in the pilot and were selected by the council.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: "This is a pilot scheme but ultimately I want every school in the city to be a clean-air, safe haven for our children."

The council said it would assess the pilot's success to decide whether it should be made permanent and extended to other areas.

Debbie Dudt, headteacher at Cofton Primary School, said the site had long-standing issues with traffic.

"It is about keeping children safe, that is always our number one priority," she said.

Image caption Permanent schemes are already in place outside three Solihull schools

Three schemes are already under way in Solihull, with the council to decide later this month whether to introduce more.

Councillor Ken Hawkins said on the whole, the response to the scheme in Solihull had been positive and there had been a reduction in traffic.

"This sort of scheme isn't going to be suitable for every school but at sites where it is feasible it can really benefit the local community and encourage active travel to school," he said.

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