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Drivers will be fined for using roads by Ilford schools during pick ups and drop offs

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 April 2019

Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal, Headteacher Sue Johnson, Cllr John Howard and pupils from SSPP Primary School. Photo: Redbridge Council

Council Leader Cllr Jas Athwal, Headteacher Sue Johnson, Cllr John Howard and pupils from SSPP Primary School. Photo: Redbridge Council

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Car users will be fined if they drive past schools during drop off and collections in Ilford.

In a scheme launched by Redbridge Council, roads leading to Saints Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School (SSPP), Gordon Road and Gordon Primary School, Golfe Road, will be closed to traffic at the start and end of the school day.

Anyone that enters the “closed street” during the peak times will be identified by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras and issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

Redbridge Council said under the scheme the journey to and from school is set to become a whole lot healthier and the initiative will be launched in the summer term.

However, not everyone is on board with the scheme, with one parent calling the plans ill thought out.

“While I welcome an initiative to reduce toxic air, shutting roads around a school is ridiculous,” they said.

“It is hard enough to park as it is and with large catchment areas it is not feasible to walk and make it to work on time.

“This move penalises working parents who are already battling to do it all - again this has been thought out by people who don’t have children - or if they do, they don’t have to drop them to school regularly and still make it to work on time - I bet a man thought this up.”

Another mum with two children called the plans “ludicrous”.

“How are you meant to get your children to school in the morning- especially if you have multiple children?” she said.

“Do you know how long it takes to unload a pram and all the other stuff?

“It will just create congestion in the next road, which I am sure will be just as toxic - it is not as if air stays still.

“It will not stop people driving, it will just cause more stress for parents and children will be late.”

Councillor John Howard, cabinet member for civic pride, said London’s toxic air is having a hugely detrimental effect on the lungs of children and young people and the initiative is an “important project” that will enable the council to tackle air pollution by cutting down on congestion during the school run and encourage pupils and parents to walk and cycle.

“The programme will also create safer roads for children travelling to and from school,” he said.

“We are committed to improving air quality in the borough and the new traffic restrictions outside these school entrances will contribute towards this.”

Sue Johnson, headteacher of SSPP also backs the idea and added: “SSPP are very excited to be involved in this project, we care about the environment and the health of our children.

“We are hopeful this initiative will allow the children to ride their bikes to school safely and breath cleaner air.

“The roads will certainly be much safer outside the school. It’s a winning solution all round for the children.”

Redbridge Council said more than 70per cent of school-aged children live within one mile of their school, based on pupil postcode at the point of school registration (2018).

Some vehicles will be exempt from the fine including residents living along the road, business in the zone, or a blue badge holder requiring access.

The local authority will open a consultation on rolling the Redbridge Schools Clean Air Zones out to more schools in the borough.

But in the meantime, letters will be sent to parents, residents and businesses in the Ilford area asking for their views.

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