Lambeth Council has introduced timed closures on streets around schools in the borough to make the journey to school safer for pupils.

Lambeth Council has introduced timed closures on streets around schools in the borough to make the journey to school safer for pupils. School Streets is a scheme set up by the council to restrict vehicle access to streets around schools in the borough during pick up and drop off times. This will help to reduce road danger, tackle congestion and improve air quality, creating safer and more pleasant environments outside of schools in the borough, while helping to facilitate walking, scooting and cycling. School Streets will also create space to aid social distancing, while COVID-19 guidelines remain in place.

Why do we need School Streets?

Even in a borough with low car ownership such as Lambeth, roads around schools are often clogged with traffic at the beginning and end of the school day. Limited parking around most schools in the borough means drivers often park in the most dangerous places right outside the school gates, or stop in the middle of the road, putting their own and other children arriving at school at risk; local residents are often inconvenienced and annoyed by inconsiderate parking and poor driving practices.

In some parts of the borough, rat running along streets with schools on them increases the safety fears of parents - the resulting environment for those walking, cycling or scooting to school is far from ideal and discourages some families from choosing active means – with a knock-on effect for children’s activity levels, as well as potential to create dangerous levels of air pollution in the immediate vicinity of the school.

A guiding principle within the Lambeth Transport Strategy is the “Focus on people rather than traffic to enable people to travel safely and live healthier, more enjoyable lives”. The implementation of “school road closures” is recommended as a means of enabling “walking and cycling to school, particularly where car use is high, to reduce motor traffic, tackle health issues and improve air quality.”

How does it work?

School Streets introduce temporary restricted vehicle access to the streets around the school gates, creating Pedestrian and Cycle zones during drop off and pick up times. These zones are supported by signage at each entry/closure point, informing drivers of the timed restrictions in place. Vehicle access is restricted by way of additional enforcement, including physical barriers and/or automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR). During the times of operation, vehicles are not able to access the School Street zone without a granted exemption. Penalty charge notices may be issued to vehicles entering the zones without an exemption.

Please see the FAQ's for more information about exemptions.

Existing School Streets

In 2019, Lambeth introduced two School Streets around Jessop Primary School on Lowden Road, Herne Hill and Immanuel and St Andrew CE Primary School on Northanger Road, Streatham.

Image of the outside of Jessop primary school These schemes are enforced by ANPR cameras between the hours of 8am to 9am and between 3pm to 4pm.

New School Streets

As part of Lambeth Council’s Emergency Transport response to COVID-19, a further 19 School Streets were implemented in September and November 2020.

These schemes currently operate between the hours of 7.45am to 9.15am and 2.15pm to 3.45pm and are supported by physical barriers and signage. These School Streets were initially introduced on a temporary basis, during which feedback was received via the ‘Have your say’ Commonplace page. During a six-month informal engagement period, between 2 September 2020 and 2 March 2021, 1692 contributions were made on the Commonplace website. 80% of respondents commented in support of the schemes, 15% of comments were negative and 5% were neutral. These 19 new School Streets will transition to an Experimental Traffic Order, at which point a six-month formal consultation will be initiated. A date for the formal consultation period will be shared soon.

Feedback provided during this period, as well as monitoring data collected by Lambeth, will decide whether to make these schemes permanent going forward.

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Word from Cabinet

Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth’s Deputy Leader (Sustainable Transport, Environment & Clean Air), said: “Our children are our future, and keeping them healthy and safe is our number one priority. The majority of people in Lambeth do not have access to a car and our aim needs to be ensuring equality when it comes to transport. 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.”

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