Parents face fines for driving children to school


Parents will be fined for dropping their children by car outside school gates, in a trial to improve child safety and reduce harmful emissions.

Two Hackney schools, St John the Baptist and Tyssen Community Primary, have signed up to the trial in June, which will see the school street close to traffic at pick-up and drop-off times.

With the roads open only to pedestrians and cyclists, any vehicle seen flouting the rules will be identified by camera and issued with a fixed penalty notice.

However, parents at the two schools have responded very differently to the proposals.

In a survey conducted by the school, 69 per cent of the parents at St John The Baptist school opposed the measures.

Parent reaction has been overwhelmingly positive

But the parent reaction from Tyseen Community School has been “overwhelmingly positive”.

Headteacher Jackie Benjamin said: “Our school has been working tirelessly to improve safety in Oldhill Street.

“At pick-up and drop-off times there are daily altercations and drivers will drive on the pavement to avoid traffic.”

Hackney Council is consulting parents and residents about the proposals, but provisionally the trial is set to go ahead in June. Residents who live on blocked roads will not be affected.

Jono Kenyon, co-ordinator of the Hackney Cycling Campaign said: “The policy delivers on multiple fronts. It improves the environment, cuts dangers to children and reduces childhood obesity – it’s a win-win.”

A similar scheme runs in Camden at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School. The school saw a 50 per cent reduction in children travelling to school by car, and a positive reaction from parents.

Ms Benjamin added: “We hope it will encourage parents to walk or cycle the school creating a healthier school community.”

Reducing its environmental footprint is top of Hackney’s agenda, following the release of a report that revealed 27 primary schools in the borough breached EU limits for NO2 emissions.

A council spokesperson said: “The consultation is due to start at the end of the month, and parents will be feeding back to the schools after the consultation period.”

Image credit: Google Street View, May 2016