Teachers have rallied further support for car-free zones outside of schools, with two-thirds saying they would support a ban at drop-off and pickup times.

Of the 840 UK teachers surveyed, 63 per cent said they would support a ban, with air pollution being the main reason for concern.

A third said they were worried about pollution outside of schools, while 63 per cent said air pollution was a problem as their schools are based near a busy road.

The research was carried out by Sustrans — a walking and cycling charity — which has been keen to voice its concerns over vehicle emissions within the vicinity of schools.

The charity also asked teachers what they thought would help to improve air quality outside of schools. Thirty four per cent thought encouraging more to cycle and walk was the answer, followed by education about the effects of pollution (28 per cent), while 26 per cent thought militant road closures outside of schools was the solution.

Xavier Brice, chief executive officer of Sustrans, said: “We need to radically change the way we travel. Idling car engines and snarled up roads poison the air and our children’s bodies across the UK.

“For too long now, dangerous levels of air pollution near schools have been ignored. Finally, this is starting to change. Our survey makes it clear that teachers want urgent action to clean up toxic fumes. They see closing the roads outside their school as an effective solution but need support from local authorities to enact change.”

The question of car-free zones outside of schools came on the agenda earlier this month after a Public Health England (PHE) report said vehicles should be banned from idling outside of schools in a bid to cut pollution.

Between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths in the UK each year are attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution, with the government body saying that more needs to be done to help tackle air pollution. PHE also wants to see car sharing lanes and further priority parking for EVs introduced.

The survey’s findings have been revealed to coincide with the ‘Big Pedal 2019’, which is a nationwide competition that aims to encourage more people to walk and cycle to school.

Ted Welford


March 25, 2019

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