Around 90 per cent of parents said they would support traffic-free streets during the school run
The majority of parents support banning cars from outside the school gates, a new study has revealed.
Data collected by environmental organisation Sustrans, shows parents are concerned about the effects of fumes caused by car exhausts on their children’s health.
A survey of almost 1,000 parents, carers and residents in Britain showed overwhelming support for the idea of traffic-free streets outside educational establishments.
A massive 90 per cent of parents would support street-closures, while 35 per cent said they are very worried about the health impact emissions have on children during the school run.
Government action needed
Sustrans, which is responsible for maintaining the National Cycle Network, has called on the government to act on the suggestion.
Xavier Brice, chief executive at Sustrans told Metro: “We all know that we are living with dangerous levels of air pollution in our towns and cities.
“Despite this, the latest figures from the National Travel Survey show that 45 per cent of primary school children in England travel to school by car – a 1 per cent increase from last year’s figures.
“These figures are worryingly high, with the average journey to primary school being just 1.6 miles – a distance that can be easily cycled.
Mr Brice added that in order to increase the amount of families cycling to school, the government needs to “make it easier” for them to do so.
“This will prevent those most vulnerable, such as children, from being exposed to toxic levels of air pollution while enabling them to easily slot in physical activity into their day,” he continued.
“Urgent action from government at all levels to provide meaningful investment in walking and cycling infrastructure is necessary so that every child is able to travel to school on foot or by cycle in safety and with confidence.”
In September last year, a study by researchers at Queen Mary University in London found children in the UK are being forced to breathe dangerous levels of toxic air as they make their way to and from school.
Around 40 children were given monitors for a 24-hour period which found they had breathed in a disproportionate amount of tiny black carbon particles, largely from diesel vehicles.
There were also worrying results for the amount of black carbon absorbed in classrooms and playgrounds.
Prof Jonathan Grigg from Queen Mary University said the study showed that urgent action should be taken to protect children from dangerous emissions.
“We know that black carbon has long-term health implications for young people and this shows that they are absorbing a disproportionate amount of these toxic particles during the school day, whether that be walking along a busy road or sitting in a car breathing in diesel fumes or even in the playground or classroom,” he said.