Solihull Council has introduced more strict no-go zones to tackle “nightmare” traffic around schools. The authority extended its flagship School Streets scheme this month to include two more schools in the borough – Cranmore Infant School in Shirley and Windy Arbor Primary School in Chelmsley Wood.
Areas around eight schools around Solihull have now been made car-free locations. The restrictions ban most vehicles, including those driven by parents and carers, from certain roads around schools.
The council said the aim of the scheme, which was first piloted in 2017, was to reduce polluted gridlocked streets around schools, and promote ‘active travel’ like walking or cycling instead.
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The School Streets scheme restricts traffic on roads leading to schools at the start and end of the school day. Exemptions include cars displaying a valid School Streets permit, emergency service workers, blue badge holders, delivery and postal vehicles and taxis. A full list can be found on the council website.
The schools now covered by Solihull’s School Streets scheme are:
- Haslucks Green Junior School
- Marston Green Infant Academy & Wayside (which will support the wider area and Marston Green Junior School)
- Oak Cottage Primary School
- Olton Primary School
- St Andrew’s Primary School – Windrush Close
- Widney Junior School – Clifton Crescent
- Cranmore Infant School
- Arbor Primary School Lifts
The scheme previously met with a mixed reaction from residents, with some suggesting the best solution might be some form of “drop and go” option for parents and carers rather than an outright ban on vehicles. Coun Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment and highways, said: “I am really pleased to roll out our successful scheme to a further two schools. These measures will make it safer and more pleasant for everyone around the sites. “
Coun Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet member for climate change, planning and housing said: “Air pollution is real, and is the biggest environmental threat to our health and our children’s health. It can harm every organ in our bodies and can shorten our lives, contribute towards chronic illness and put us more at risk from COVID-19.
“Therefore, it’s great to see the increased use of the School Streets in the borough which encourages healthier and more sustainable behaviors. This is just one council initiative that will over time contribute to better air quality.
“Others include the installation of electric charging points, improving opportunities for cycling and walking and the work being done by its sustainable travel team to encourage drivers to stop idling. I look forward to joining in the wider conversation on air pollution on Clean Air Day, Thursday 16 June. “
Each school has a specific time period where the ban is in force, but it is approximately from 8.20am to 9am and 2.30pm to 3.45pm each day. Specific details on exemptions, closure times and roads in the no-go zone can be found on the Solihull Council website.