Hampshire County Council approves pilot scheme to create traffic-free roads around schools
CHILDREN could soon be able to arrive to school without the dangers of traffic thanks to a pilot scheme being launched by Hampshire County Council.
The School Streets scheme will see roads surrounding three of the county’s schools being cordoned off and marshalled by volunteers at the start and end of the school day to prevent vehicles from driving along roads on which schools are based.
In addition to improving safety, a key aim of the scheme is to reduce levels of air pollution around schools and to encourage more children to walk or cycle to school.
The trial scheme was this week given the go-ahead at a cabinet meeting.
Harrison Primary School in Fareham, Alverstoke Infant School and Elson Junior School in Gosport, Petersfield Infant School, Foxhills Infant and Junior Schools and Cadland Primary School in the New Forest have been shortlisted for the pilot. It has not yet been revealed which schools will take part in the pilot and which will act as control schools.
Once schools have been selected parents and local businesses will be informed in order to ‘address any issues before the trial begins’.
The School Streets scheme has been adopted in Portsmouth and one was due to start at Arundel Court Primary in September – but this has been pushed back due to the pandemic.
Deputy leader of the county council Cllr Rob Humby said: ‘We have a unique opportunity here to make the most of one of the positive changes that has come about during this past year, which is to encourage people to continue walking and cycling for their everyday journeys.
‘Schools and colleges across the county have made great progress working with the county council’s travel team over the years, devising ways and routes to leave the car at home for the school run which improves the physical and mental wellbeing of young people at the same time as improving air quality and reducing congestion.
‘I'm therefore very pleased to support this trial.’
The trial scheme will take place in July with a decision yet to be made as to whether it will be for one day or a week.
Speaking at the meeting Cllr Stephen Reid said he believed the pilot should last for at least a week in order to ‘fully assess its effectiveness’.
Three schools will be selected to pilot the project with a further three selected as control schools – schools which have similar characteristics but where roads will remain open.
A council spokeswoman said: ‘This is so the team can measure the difference made by the pilot on journey’s to school and not other factors.’
If the initial trial proves to be successful the pilot will be expanded for the autumn term.