Portsmouth headteachers welcome plan to film parents caught parking on school zig-zags

Portsmouth City Council want to stop cars parking on zig-zag lines outside schools
Portsmouth City Council want to stop cars parking on zig-zag lines outside schools
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WE will catch you – that’s the stark warning to drivers as plans are unveiled to capture on camera anyone putting children’s lives in danger by parking on school zig-zag lines.

Portsmouth City Council could splash out £54,000 on two mobile cameras to catch cars parking illegally outside schools – which blocks the view of children trying to cross the road and obstructs other road users.

We have tried all sorts of things. It’s a regular feature in the newsletters. We have had our caretaker at the back telling people to move on. And my staff have been verbally accused.

Jackie Collins, headteacher of Devonshire Infant School

Once caught, offenders would then be issued a £70 fine.

Parking officers have come up with the plan after the results of a survey of parents, teachers and school governors showed 84 per cent believed pupils were at risk on roads outside city schools.

And headteachers have welcomed the move and hope it will finally bring to an end chaos on the road and stop pupils being put at risk.

Jackie Collins, headteacher of Devonshire Infant School in Francis Avenue, Southsea, said: ‘We have an issue at the back of the school and we also have a big issue with parents and taxis just stopping on corners and double yellows.

‘We have people just stopping in the middle of the road.

‘So anything that will make the roads clearer and safer for children has got to be a good thing.

‘We have tried all sorts of things. It’s a regular feature in the newsletters.

‘We have had our caretaker at the back telling people to move on. And my staff have been verbally abused.’

Stopping on a zig-zag line outside a school is covered in parking law by Contravention Code 48.

It is summarised as ‘stopped or parked on a restricted area outside a school’ and must be accompanied by a time plate to be legally enforceable.

The cameras would watch offenders parking on zig-zags at the beginning and the end of school days.

They would be set up in high-risk areas where the problem is rife and would be mounted on poles with signs warning drivers they were in operation.

Alan Cufley, council director for transport, said: ‘Our civil enforcement officers will still be patrolling at various schools each day, as they do now, but clearly they can’t be everywhere.

‘These cameras would extend our ability to enforce zig-zags at drop-off and pick-up times.’

Mr Cufley said latest council figures show child pedestrian casualties on the roads have gone down over 10 
years, from an average of 56 a year to 35 a year.

But he said numbers are still about 50 per cent above the national average, and the council needs to take measures to reduce accidents further.

Mr Cufley said: ‘A common factor in many accidents is a child crossing from behind parked cars, where they can’t see what’s coming. This is what zig-zags are supposed to stop.

‘I’m sure people will agree that we need to consider all options available to protect children. Parking on zig-zags is dangerous, even if you only spend a few moments dropping a child off.

‘This proposal is all about road safety and the operation of the cameras will be at a cost to the city council.

‘We don’t want to hand out penalties – we want people to stay off the zig-zags.’

Doug Brawley, headteacher of Copnor Primary School in Copnor Road, 
Copnor, said parents are not solely to blame.

He said: ‘We do think it’s an issue.

‘We are on Copnor Road, it’s a main artery in the city, and there is a shop beside us, so people tend to stop to use it.

‘It’s not just parents, it’s whoever.

‘So we have an issue generally with people stopping on zig-zags.’

The £70 penalty would be discounted to £35 if paid within 14 days.

The cameras would link up to technology already in place for bus lane cameras, which were introduced last year as part of a contract with traffic management firm Videalert.

As reported, the council issued fines to drivers caught using city bus routes worth £387,360 between November and April this year.

The zig-zag cameras plan will be considered by Tory traffic boss, Cllr Jim Fleming, at a meeting on Tuesday.