Two schools in London are taking the next step in tackling the growing air pollution crisis by fining parents £130 for driving their children to and from school. Experts believe that tackling the pollution issue at the source, by hitting parents in the wallet, will cut down on those who unnecessarily drive their kids to school. The measure should radically improve road pollution around schools where public transport is easily accessible.
As part of an unprecedented initiative called “School Streets,” Hackney Borough Council will ban parents from picking up and dropping off their children between 8.30-9.15 am and 3.15-4.00 pm.
The ban is set to begin in June and, while it only applies to two schools now, could be expanded across the borough (and the capital) if it proves a real success.
Whilst primarily focusing on reducing the amount of pollution that school children breathe in daily, it is hoped that the ban will also increase children’s activity levels, by encouraging them to walk or cycle to school and to use public transport.
This follows last week’s news that London will be introducing a “toxicity charge” from October, to help prevent the highest-polluting vehicles from using capital’s roads.
The dangers of air pollution are becoming increasingly apparent, igniting a war on air pollution across the UK. While these measures attempt to encourage use of public transport, how realistic is that, when London Underground and train routes are already close to breaking point?
If this was rolled out across all major towns and cities in the UK, what impact would it have on pollution? Is the public transportation infrastructure ready to cope with a massive increase in the number of children using it to go to school? What about the public safety of children if this was made law?
Whilst this attempts to tackle a serious problem, do you think that it is a viable solution? Could it be improved? Please let us know your views in the comments below.
Image credit – Pixabay
An easy question with no easy answer. I cannot comment on the London situation but, do know that, where I live, many parents drive their children to school when they could quite easily walk them to school – the journey being less than 2 miles. Everyone needs re-educating, walking to school would benefit the air, people’s health (and bank balance). It’s much cheaper to walk than to drive. People who have to drive should car share to help reduce the number of cars on the road.
I agree with you. My reply to this is mild by comparison as to what I wanted to put. Your reply is more controlled.
Jane fully agree with you, when I went to school my parents didn’t own a car and I had to use public transport as well as walking, when I moved to another school I used to cycle and my last school used the train.
We never had a car when I was younger and going to school some 5 miles away, in my secondary years, and it was either by bus, bike or shank’s pony. I soon realised that I could walk home and save 4d in the same time that the bus took to get me home because of it’s route. So I saved up 1/8d a week towards an Airfix kit. Nowadays parents cocoon their little cherubs in a protective bubble and when they grow up they are bone idle and cannot communicate in the real world. Get all kids walking to school if the distance is reasonable and have proper drop off points for vehicles for those that the distance is too far. Stop all 4×4 tractor wagons driven for self importance purposes, getting anywhere near schools. I would also stop all buses going on any routes close by schools and make them take alternative routes nearby. Watching TV of London Streets it appears that they are full of empty buses churning out fumes, along with taxis and delivery vans. It is the car that gets the blame though for any pollution as Khan and his green cohorts have very blinkered vision on the subject of pollution, as usual for the Labour elite proliteriat.
In the village I live in we have people who drive 320m to pick their kids up from junior school it takes them longer to find a parking space than it does to actually walk to the school, but i can see the reason why as the school is situated on the edge of the village across a busy through road with no crossings or lollipop person as the council say they cant put one in as its situated in between houses, also the nearest secondary school is 2.5 miles away with no direct bus service, its hard if you have children at both schools and even harder to do the walk and drop off if you are working and dont have time to walk to school walk home THEN go to work. Its a great idea getting more people to walk to school but it isnt always practical.
That’s fine solong as the council guarantee to find kids a school close to where they live and if they don’t then the school should be fined, many parents have a child at one school and another at a different school all because of the incompetence of local councils.
Will they be willing to reopen all the schools that they have closed.
It’s all one sided , taking the easy option and penalising the motorist again how about punishing the councils for causing the problem in the first place.
James, I agree with most of what you are saying, but don’t you think it’s not the council who is at fault, but their big boss, THE GOVERNMENT, as they are for all the austerity problems.?
At last ! A council with some common sense.
It’ll help a lot of Obese parents and children if they get off their fat posteriors. As for public transport being unable to cope, this isn’t a new thing is it? they have been trying to encourage people to travel by bus and train for decades, with no infrastructure and silly prices.
this is partially a government created problem. By all this competing to get into schools some can’t get there kids into local schools so their parents have no option but to drive them to school. Some have to drive their children to two or more different schools…….
Let’s hound and harass parents. Why not?
As children, we always walked to school, and later, got the bus. I live beside a school now and the catchment area is 1 mile. I walked this with my kids, but it’s a nightmare with parents parking for up to an hour before school ends, sitting reading or on phones in the cars. Why are they too lazy to walk? Some parents are parking half a mile away, which is crazy.
It’s healthier for the kids to walk, and the parents, and there are obvious problems as mentioned above which would need addressing. But even half the number of cars milling around at school times would be an improvement.
I was never driven to or from school. I’d have died from shame.
As a retired teacher and resident in a village with a primary school which is situated at the top of a narrow country lane, we have suffered for 30 years with a continually increasing problem. Parents choose the school because it is in a ‘nice’ area. They buy the latest gas guzzling 4×4 and proceed to contribute to an horrendous situation causing chaos to residents, delivery drivers and the emergency services. They even park on the school zig-zags!
Our Parish Council spent many thousands of pounds on buying land and constructing a car park. Two years later many parents are still parking in the road for a quicker getaway, arriving up to 3/4 hour before school finishes to secure a prime space.
Only this sort of decisive action which hits the wallet will have any effect on such selfish people. The school should have a contract for new pupils which specifies that anyone living two miles or less from the school must walk and that those from further away must use the car park. Sadly this is unlikely to happen and we will continue to pray that no resident of the road has a house fire or heart attack/stroke during these specific hours.
Our local school seems to have more grandparents picking up the kids, the parents unfortunately having to work these days, get the simmers out folks
Sorry spelled zimmers wrong
Our local school seems to have more grandparents picking up the kids, the parents unfortunately having to work these days, get the zimmers dusted off folks
Brilliant and probably the best motoring idea I’ve heard in years but as with all things motoring who’s going to police this new strategy because without force parents will just ignore it.
From the age of 11 in 1962, I had to walk for one hour to get to school for 9am. School finished at 4pm in those days, and that meant another one hour’s walk. Rain, cold, sleet and snow were no excuse – if you weren’t there for 9am roll call , you got the strap and/or detention for one hour on a Friday. From year 3 onwards, when homework increased to 3 hours a night – with one full day’s work at weekend – we had to work to town to the library, find the books we needed for that evening’s work and then work home, arriving at about 5-30pm. A quick tea, then 3 hrs homework. Then bed and repeat next day. Anyone who attended a grammar school in those days will remember all this sort of stuff.
So – who would allow their children to be subject to such a routine these days ? An eleven yr-old walking for an hour with all the traffic, not to mention predatory paedophiles hiding in the bushed ???? No cars means a paedophile heaven – all those boys and girls walking through places with no adult supervision !!!!
Public transport is no help either – bus services have been cut dramatically in recent years and what remains tends to mean your kids being 5 minutes late for school, or arriving an hour early. I see every working day, children as young as 11 waiting for buses for school as early as 7am – is it fair for a child to have to rise at 6am to get to school just because there is no public transport and their parents can’t use a car ?????
As per usual, the sort of anti-car policies that The Marxist Muslim Republic of Hackney envisage are typical of how out-of-touch the public-sector pen-pushers are with the reality the the rest of us have to live with every day.
I live in a small village Whitworth near Rochdale, & I live very near the local high school, the amount of traffic in the morning when school starts, & yet again in the afternoon when school has finished is ridiculous, the amount of vehicles combined with the normal traffic just causes traffic jams every single day throughout the week in term time. These kids need to get on there feet & start walking to school like we used to do, it surely wouldn’t harm them to do so.
How often will parents be fined? Once a week, once a month, once a term, once a year, or even daily or every time they are caught? And who is going to do the monitoring? Is an ‘observer’ going to be outside the 2 schools, making a note of every car that pulls up and tips a child out and maybe taking a photo to back up their evidence? And what right of appeal will the parents have, in cases where they want to try to get out of paying? When this is spread out to every school, will the council even be able to cope with all the potential appeals and who are they going to employ to adjudicate on the appeals: probably someone who’s salary won’t even be covered by all the fines, so the council will quickly start to make a loss on the scheme and then decide that either more parents need to be fined, less appeals being successful, or at the end of the day just close the scheme altogether as they cannot afford to lose money on it.
And anyway, having said all that, no parents will be caught as they will simply stop around the corner or up the road from the school, tip their child out and then drive off so the observer will be none the wiser and the council will not be able to afford to have enough observers in the surrounding streets to catch them.
So a good idea, but lots of things for them to think about first.
Added to which adukts are not wuthin the jurisdiction of a school outside the school grounds.
Not a legitimate requirement, it will fail at the first legal challenge.
Entitely laudable until you consider how the government and local authorities have screwed thing up.
A) Parent Choice now means that parents have for years been able to choose schools well away from where they live forcing many others in close proximity to a school having to take their children miles to schools not of their choice.
B) Local authorities forcing children to attend schools far from their homes and.
C) In this day and age many children are taken to school by grandparents/relatives who do not live close to the schools. This has happened to us with 3 grandchildren who had to be brought to us to then be taken to 3 separate schools miles apart and collected in the evening.
The idea is ludicroius and like most things nowadays ill thought out.
Also, it smacks of dubious legality. The children are not within the jurisdiction of the school and MOST DEFINITELY the adults are not!
WTF?! will they provide a FREE TRANSPORT to schools?
politicians WHO ARE PAID BY US BECAUSE WE ARE FORCED TO PAY TAXES WHICH ARE FOR THEIR HEFTY SALARIES should take consequences of their decisions and APPLY NEW POLICIES TO THEMSELVES FIRST!
the same with labour 1.5parking spaces/household in new developments.
this is not about pollution. this is about STEALING MORE OF OUR HARD EARNED MONEY.
WHEN THEY PUZZLED LOTS OF US TO BUY DIESELS THEY SHOULD FACE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS NOT US!
if they want us to get rid of diesel cars then first check if emissions of pertol ones are in line with what manufaacturers promise and give subsidies to convert diesels to LPG – this will make them much better i.e. thing does not involve change to existing fuel sysyem but additional LPG system is added which injects small amount of LPG and it causes diesel to burn much better which improves emissions and fuel economy.
Essentially, it’s a case of burden the household income with fines to tackle pollution instead of investing in vehicles which generate less pollution, or an improved public transport system? Tackle the actual issue: vehicle pollution. Don’t penalise the users who may actually NEED to transport their children to school because they’re in a better school and public transport doesn’t support their route.
How is it that the general public can see potential solutions but our elected leaders only opt for plastering over gaping chasms?
I am a father of 2 boys aged 9 and 4 and due to my phisical disability, i rely on my car to get around, without it my boys wouldnt be able to attend school as it is too far for me to walk and they are too young to let them walk the 2 mile journey to school. The council obviously hasn’t thought about the impact this would have on other parents in my situation.
This seems to have come about because many of the infant schools are on roads or junctions , in London, where there is alleged high pollution from cars . There are other vehicles on the road , not just cars .
Why doesn’t someone go back to source and fine , heavily the councillors , not the council , for allowing planning for these locations . This would hit them in the pocket because of their inability to think that infant schools on main roads could suffer from fumes from passing vehicles .
Now Hackey , who is a money grabbing council , have now got it into their head that motorists , not other vehicle users , should be penalised for taking children to school . No consideration has been given to how they travel to school , there has been a lot said about the dangers of adults and accidents on bikes , children on bikes is an accident , or accidents waiting to happen . Also a lot has been said about children being approached by unknowns when walking alone . Will Hackney compensate the parents if anything happens as a result of these suggestions . I think not unless you get Hackey to sign a declaration that they accept full responsibilty for children making their own way to school.
The nearest primary school from here is 3/4 mile from this hamlet down a very narrow lane with no pavements. The next level school is 5 miles away, again, through small lanes with no pavements. For a secondary school the distance is 10 miles. There is a main local bus on 1 day per month and the destination is the next major town, 25 miles away. This bus links to the nearest towns’ bus service which takes 8 hrs to get to the secondary school town. Unfortunately the return bus service is not until the following morning so the school would need to set up a B&B service. Perhaps if the councils’ reduced the salaries and expences of their leaders and councillors they would have more funds to use wisely.
Most Children live within walking or cycling distance from their school, so that should be the preferred option, Not least for the fact that it is good exercise. Parents transporting their Children on the grounds of Time or Convenience doesn’t make sense on any level (Baring those who suffer from an injury or impairment). Just witness the easy with which traffic flows adjacent to schools, when they are closed. Parents in cars near schools, block the flow of traffic, park on the pavement, creating ‘blind spots’ for other road users and force those who choose to walk off the pavement and into the road, creating the potential for personal injury….These points alone, mean that Vehicles should NOT be the first choice, when it comes to getting children to school on time.
My daughter had baby and wants me to drop her youngest of at school on way to work wouldnt have the time if i couldnt drive also have a bad back so cant walk far. In principle if you have older children that can walk but i have friends who also take them through fear of pedofiles getting them so this in itself is going to be difficult to implement as we are responsible for getting our children to school safely therefore this really is not the way forward.
Excellent! At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I had to catch the bus or train to school. I seem to remember I got a free, or substantially discounted, pass. Keeping the “Chelsea Tractors” off the roads will reduce congestion, improve the kids health through exercise, and keep the “Health and Safety” brigade happy, as with less cars parking by school entrances, there will be less congestion, and thus less chance of accidents. Woo-hoo – yes – go for it!
That said, I am of course sympathetic to those with disabilities, and they should surely get an exemption pass. And to answer an earlier commentator – this plan is in central London, not some isolated country village with narrow windey lanes.
As a 60 year old i now have to wait till 66 before I get a free bus pass forcing me to continue to driving and additional to the pollution.
Short sighted, money saving policy by the government. Admittedly, many who have bus passes don’t use them so that really is wasting money.
If they ended the current system and replaced it with a significant subsidy for those who wish to use buses it would have a massive impact on reducing pollution.
So, only those who want the service buy a card for £10 but get £50 of travel….No more wasting money by providing and funding a service that many will never use.
There seems to just be a string of excuses down here. Peadophillia is most common amongst family and friends of the said child – read any half reasonable article on the subject. On the way to work – is it really, or do you take a convenient detour? Poor weather – get real!! It happens – deal with it! Disability?? If you have a registered disability, then fine the principal is already in place. Too far from school?? I can only really see this applying to rural schools where free busses are provided and should be easily accessible. When my kids were at primary school it was quicker to walk the long way round than to drive through all the traffic on the short route!! Kids need to move more and our reliance on their the car needs to decline to drive down pollution. Please, stop moaning about how it won’t work and start thinking how to make it work. Then the draconian fines wind be needed to beat people into change!
When I started school at the age of 5 my mum walked with me on the first day (about one mile) and after that I walked to school either on my own or with a few other kids from the road.
I fully endorse the idea of fining the parents who insist on driving the kids to school – excellent idea all round with many benefits.
How many years ago was that? Most mothers are out working full time these days. I just wish we lived nearer to our grandchildren then we could help our daughter-in-law juggle getting two children to school miles apart in opposite directions & then catching a train to her job, no way could she do it without her car. And in case your wondering where our son is in all this, he leaves for work before the bus drivers get out of bed.
There was a time when pollution was an issue in central London [I know because I was there] but that was long ago & it is now a very different story. However far from acknowledging their success, environmental campaigners continue to push for ever more draconian measures despite the inevitably diminishing returns for their efforts. I wouldn’t drive in London because of parking charges, never mind the congestion charge; heaping ever more punishment on motorists is not going to achieve much more than has already been achieved. The message is loud & clear that cars are not welcome in our cities, so I won’t go there unless I have to; a view shared by many motorists who now opt for out of town shopping, which is why our towns & cities have so many charity shops on their high streets.. filling the gaps where businesses can no longer find enough customers to survive.
I think they need to look into this more, this is a national problem not just London, but London being as it is they will fine people £130 every time they are caught parking which to the people who live there it will be another fine/tax, BUT WILL IT SOLVE THE PROBLEM? Being in transport/recovery work in the past, I have seen this problem everywhere in the country north, east, south and west and unless councils are willing to sort alternative transport ways for those who need it to get children to school safely then this problem is not going away. I would advise the people/schools and councils all over the country to get together to sort this problem out once and for all and for councils to stop making money making scheme’s just to top up their pocket, this is not only a London problem or a toxicity charge, this is another stealth tax with a new name but as I asked before WILL IT SOLVE THE PROBLEM? we all know the answer, NO, the council will get richer but you the public will be fined 5 days a week at £260 per day, GOOD SCHEME to me and they don’t have to do anything just issue tickets while they sit in their council office rubbing their hands. For you Petrol Prices site to bring this to notice to the public is a good thing, but what are you going to say to these people who need advice, lets hear your thoughts for a change after all it was you who told the people about this subject. Lets face it people all of London areas are toxic as is most of the country anyway and for these council think tanks to come up with another way to get your money with a new name, just get rid of them, you have the power of the vote. Just to let you know we have the same problem here a few hundred yards away from me and that my friends is a bus route, but will it be sorted I don’t think so.
Great idea if they can police it properly. I live in a very rural village in Hampshire and our local school has less than 100 pupils, 90% of them arrive by car and some of those travel less than a mile to get here. When walking the dog thru the carpark there are usually 6 or 7 cars (mainly 4×4’s) with engines ticking over for 10 or 15 minutes whilst the owners chat to each other (why).
The reasons for not doing this are, according to the commenters numerous. If you as a parent normally take your child to school in the car and the trip is a mile or less, why don’t you walk with them. Yes I know many have to juggle taking them to school with work, but they are your children, find a way round this.
Apologies if this upsets, but many children need the excersise and,speaking personally, most of us adults need it even more.
And yes it is another tax that local government want to foist on us, but it is a tax no one needs to pay. If there is a good reason for taking them by car – extreme distance, no pavements – they will have to allow car use, but I’d guess most children will have to get used to doing as I did as a kid – walk or cycle to school.
You see even the Councils are jumping on the bandwagon since the VW TV commercial looking cool driving that kid to school in their motor .Music playing in vehicles or radios will be next
It is pretty useless to remind the 2017 public that kis including myself used to walk considerable distance to & from school because nowadays most parents do not walk other than to recover their car from where it was dumped–often on the yellow lines! KIds expect to get conveyed everywhere by vehicle and would have sreaming fits if a few thoughtful parents suggested they walk [escorted or otherwise] a few hundred yards to school utilising the “lollipop” persons etc.
I describe the traffic situation on local roads at 8.50 –9.15 and again around school closure time as “THE MUMMY RUN” when parents, frequently a bit tardy, rush the road then double park as close to the classrooms as they can and, Yes, on the zig zags at school gates.
So I say enforce some sense in the parent/grandparent brigade and whatever happened to the idea of healthful exercise –for both parents & kids?
I don’t suppose that the will be applying the same rules to council staff??
Particularly not the Chief Executives etc.
I agree that in principle it is a good goal for children (and adults) to walk more. But to force them to use public transport? This might work in London but where I live they are just about to remove our last remaining bus service altogether leaving those without cars and not able to walk the 3 miles each way to the nearest bus stop totally housebound.
Whilst I agree that where feasible, parents should walk kids to school and car should be used sparingly, introducing yet more penalties and draconian rules is facing the wrong way. Yet another good reason not to bring your child up in Haringey.
Just think to yourself, would you hope or expect your parents to have been treated this way?
Let’s be a little less quick to judge, and a little less quick in engaging the power of the state.
What about parents who drop their children to school on their way to work? Take child to school, then walk back home, take a car and be late for work? Or be penalized for working instead of living on benefits?
Whatever they decide to do the children’s safety is the primary concern.
I walked the 3/4 mile to school and back at lunchtime and night until I was at senior school. Then it was 2 1/2 miles until I got a ‘bicycle permit’ to ride. I’d like to see more kids on bikes but frankly the roads are so crowded now it’s frightening to ride a bike just about anywhere, and I wouldn’t want my Grandchildren doing it. Caught in a cleft stick situation now aren’t we?
School buses seems to be the answer
This looks like state interference at its worst. No wonder there is such distrust of politicians when they behave like petty dictators.
As we live near 2 primary age schools where mothers have unnecessarily large cars and no road sense whatsoever to drive one little darling to the school, I would welcome this. It is chaos on the local roads here. School buses were always a good idea in the past and it was stupid to stop them. Children have no sense of responsibility being driven everywhere.
How very sensible of Hackney to put the safety and lives of their children (and residents) ahead of the convenience of parent car drivers. And how typical of car drivers (and I’m one) to blame the local authority for its intervention when they’re the ones creating the problem in the first place.
I do hope that the Local Authority includes all the worst polluters which are heavy vehicles including buses etc and are not just hitting the over taxed rate payers, yet again, what would the Government do if we all got rid of our cars and used Public Transport, Shanks’s Pony, walking etc. where would they raise the umpteen billion pounds from vehicle excise duty, I know, how about a shoe tax or better still a walking tax we could all have a milometer fitted, lets see the new mayor of London walking to work or on ye bike matey.
Doesn’t affect me so all for it if it gives me more road space to use my F TYPE SVR to it’s maximum potential. Paying £515 in road to ax already so need to be able to use the roads where, when & how I choose when I choose. How about dispensing with old mother May’s chauffeur driven XJ, she could walk down to the house from Downing Street ? Don’t give me the old security excuse, doesn’t hold water with me.
Think £130 is enough for a small car but if it’s a Range Rover let’s make £500 per trip.
Well. Only thing to say is stupidity has no bounds. If you want to tackle pollution then do something about banning the polluting cars and not hit the poor parent who might be trying to shuffle a busy schedule of going to work and drop their child safely to school.
Pure greed wrapped up in a tissue of lies, if the councils and the government were in the least bit concerned about children breathing in the toxic fumes from fuel they would make us all drive using Ethanol so our children didn’t have to breathe in all the dangerous fumes, but that will never happen because they make millions if not billions from fuel sales, so they let underdeveloped lungs breathe toxic fumes for money, bunch of greedy hypocrites .
Can someone please tell me how this is going to work. They are proposing to fine someone for using the the public highway. Is there going to be someone with a clipboard writing down registration numbers or are they going to have one of those cameras the police use to catch non-payers of car insurance. Are they going to film children getting out of vehicles, don’t forget these children are not on school premises. I hope the parents test this in the high court because this is the thin edge of dictatorship. What happens if someone not dropping a child off passes the school will they be fined as well. Or am I reading this wrong, do these parents actually enter school premises? At what age do these council officials think it is safe for children to travel on public transport alone? As for travelling on the Underground; for years we would travel around London on the Underground, yes it was busy at rush hour but now I think it is life threatening.