Mums for Lungs welcome school streets plan

children and parents on road without cars
A school street in action

Lambeth council today (July 14) announced plans for 21 new child-friendly “school streets” to make it safer for pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to school while also maintaining social distancing outside school gates.

Nikki Smiton of campaign group Mums for Lungs said: “It’s great to see Lambeth joining other London boroughs in embracing school streets.

“With the potential link between Covid-19 and air pollution becoming clearer, as well as the ongoing need for social distancing, there has never been a more important time to put these measures in place,” she said.

“It’s essential to do all we can to protect children’s delicate lungs ahead of schools fully re-opening in September.”

Schools in and near Brixton that will get school streets include:

The Orchard primary on Christchurch Road near the junction with Brixton Hill
Van Gogh primary in Vassal ward
Richard Atkins primary, Brixton
Sudbourne primary, off Brixton Hill
St John Angell Town, Brixton

Fears for the safety of children from Richard Atkins school on the notorious New Park Road rat-run have already led to changes to the road.

The school streets plans include timed road closures to reduce motor traffic around schools and to ensure that local people have safe and accessible transport options to make the school run. The 21 new sites are due to be in operation from the beginning of next term in September. Cyclists and pedestrians should not be affected.

Most Lambeth residents do not have access to a car. The council says it plans to provide options that allow people who do not own a car to avoid public transport whilet also making streets safer.

The measures, which the council says also will help clean up Lambeth’s polluted air and cut road danger, are expected cost an initial £75,000.

The timed closures support the Mayor of London’s London Streetspace Plan guidance and will be run in coordination with schools.

Claire Holland, the council’s deputy leader (sustainable transport, environment and clean air), said: “Our children are our future, and keeping them healthy and safe is our number one priority.

woman with bicycle
Claire Holland

“Just because your family isn’t able to afford to run a car shouldn’t mean you are exposed to increased risk on public transport or whilst walking, cycling or scooting on our streets as they are too dangerous.

“We need to redress this balance, clean up our air and make our roads safer for everyone.”

Lambeth already has two permanent school streets around Jessop Primary School on Lowden Road, Herne Hill, and Immanuel and St Andrew CE Primary School on Northanger Road, Streatham. They were used to test the current proposals.

school and road
Jessop primary school

The new measures will be a combination of school streets with restrictions at the start and end of the school day and full-time changes to the road layout around school gates at all times.

Schools that are not able to have school streets because of technical or other considerations will be considered for other measures to improve social distancing and active travel, the council said.

Ed Davie, cabinet member for children and young people said: “Hundreds of Lambeth residents, including children, die every year from vehicle air pollution and scores more are killed and seriously injured by drivers.

“By freeing space around schools like this we can make the air cleaner and the streets safer so that children and their families can walk, cycle and scoot together.”

School streets will also tackle problems created by drivers parking in the most dangerous places outside the school gates, or stopping in the middle of the road, putting children at risk and annoying local residents.

Northanger Road in Streatham is closed by portable gates from 8.15 am to 9.15am and 3pm to 4pm on term-time weekdays.

Emergency services and disabled badge holders still have access and residents are able to exit.

Tests at Jessop and St Andrew ran from mid-March to the end of the summer term. 

The full list is:

Christ Church, Streatham, SW2 3NF, Brixton Hill ward
The Orchard, Brixton, SW2 3ES, Brixton Hill ward
St Luke’s, Norwood, SE27 0DZ, Knight’s Hill ward
Van Gogh Primary (Mostyn site), SW9 6HF, Vassal lward
Van Gogh Primary (Hackford site), SW9 0RD, Vassall ward
Paxton, SE19 1PA, Gipsy Hill ward
St Mary’s RC, SW4 9QJ, Clapham Common ward
Sunnyhill, SW16 2UW, Streatham Wells ward
Richard Atkins, SW2 4JP, Brixton Hill ward
Elm Wood, SE27 9RR, Gipsy Hill ward
Telferscot, SW12 0HW, Thornton ward
Julian’s, SE27 0JF, Knights Hill ward
Sudbourne, SW2 5AP, Brixton Hill ward
St John Angell Town, SW9 7HH, Coldharbour ward
Larkhall, SW4 6PH, Larkhall ward

Hitherfield, SW16 2JQ, Streatham Wells ward
Henry Cavendish, SW12 0JA, Thornton ward
Henry Cavendish, SW16 1AU, St Leonard’s ward
Woodmansterne, SW16 5UG, Streatham South ward
Archbishop Sumner, SE11 4PH, Prince’s ward
Bonneville, SW4 9LB, Clapham Common ward