By John Garnsworthy
Get Sutton Cycling is delighted to hear that the Council’s Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee has given the go-ahead for 11 School Streets in the borough. We look forward to seeing them introduced in the autumn for the following schools:
All Saints’ Carshalton Church of England Primary School (Rotherfield Road)
Bandon Hill Primary School and Sherwood Hill School (Beddington Gardens)
Carshalton Boys Sports College (Winchcombe Road)
Cheam Common Infants’ and Junior Academy (Kingsmead Avenue)
Cheam Fields Primary Academy (Stoughton Avenue)
Cheam Park Farm Junior Academy (Kingston Avenue)
St Elpheges Catholic Infants and Juniors (Roe Way)
Harris Junior Academy, Carshalton (Camden Road)
St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls & St Mary’s Catholic Juniors (Shorts Road)
Muschamp Primary (Muschamp Road)
Robin Hood Junior School (Thorncroft Road)
The Committee’s decision follows consultation with local residents and others which demonstrated wide and high levels of support. We are pleased to see Sutton joining other London boroughs with around 350 schemes now introduced by councils of different political complexions, whether Conservative, Labour or LibDem.
School streets work by closing streets – to motor vehicles only – near schools for just a short time each day during term-time when the school opens and closes. However, the streets remain open for pedestrians and cyclists as well as the streets’ residents so that they are not unduly inconvenienced. School streets aim to cut air pollution, reduce congestion and encourage active travel with more children walking, cycling or scooting to school, enabling them to enjoy better health.
Around half of London’s emissions come from road transport, and London’s toxic air already leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness. Research shows that School Streets have a positive effect with Nitrogen Dioxide levels falling by up to 23 per cent where they have been introduced: School Streets improve air quality
We hope that the School Streets in Sutton are a success and that more schools quickly follow suit as their benefits become more widely apparent and known about. At the same time issues such as air pollution, the Climate Emergency, road safety and congestion aren’t restricted to areas around schools but affect us all. In order to address them, action is urgently required to enable more people to enjoy travel on less polluted and safer roads by cycling and walking. Infrastructure projects such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have a major role to play in making this happen.