School Streets tackle congestion and improve air quality in Hackney

 

Children in a school street Pic: Hackney Council

Hackney council has extended consultations on a new school street scheme in Clapton which would make the area around Southwold primary school car free during school drop off and collection times.

Views are being sought on a plan to make Detmold Road, off Mount Pleasant Hill, a temporary pedestrian and cycle-only zone for 45 minutes each morning and afternoon excluding school holidays and weekends. Consultations will now close on February 22.

Consultations have just closed on a similar scheme for Audrey Street in Shoreditch, next to Sebright School and City of London Academy.

The aim is to reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution and improve air quality at the school gates. It will also make it easier and safer for children to get to and from school.

The two latest proposals come on top of five other school street schemes launched since June 2017, one of which has been made permanent.

A 2016 study by Sadiq Khan,Mayor of Londonfound that 443 schools across the capital are exceeding legal air pollution limits, with Hackney in the top ten worst boroughs.

Air pollution levels in Hackney show the extent of the air quality crisis. Studies conducted prior to the start of the school street scheme show that average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration levels exceeded the EU legal limit of 40 micrograms per metre cubed.

school street in Hackney Pic: @hackneycouncil

The Mayor of Hackney has committed to delivering 12 new School Streets by 2022.

Hackney is committed to having 12 new school streets by 2022.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Feryal Demirci welcomed the latest schemes which she said “form part of our wider ambitions to reclaim our neighbourhoods for people not cars, improve the borough’s air quality and get more people walking and cycyling”.

A study published in the Lancet  last November found the capacity of children’s lungs was reduced by about 5% when NO2pollution was above legal levels. High levels of NO2 are particularly damaging to children, increase the risk of respiratory and blood diseases and reduce childen’s lung development.

Hackney’s existing school streets in Hackney are generally reckoned to have created a more pleasant environment for everyone.  They also ensure residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists can still use the road.

The scheme has recently spread nationwide. One of the organisers said: “We would like to create a more pleasant environment for everyone, especially for children.”

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