Newham Council’s Healthy School Streets programme is being extended to cover more schools following the success of phases 1 and 2 of the scheme.
The first two phases, introduced in 2019 and 2021, saw a successful reduction of dangerous air pollution, with an average 32% drop in nitrogen dioxide in the mornings and 16% drop in the afternoons.
The programme introduced driving restrictions on roads around selected schools to reduce traffic, make the roads safer for children, encourage active sustainable alternatives such as walking, improve local air quality and reduce school run congestion for local residents. The next phase of the programme will be introduced this summer.
Cllr James Asser, Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Sustainable Transport said:
“The Council is committed to improve the quality of life for our residents and we know that under 18s in Newham are severely affected by levels of air pollution, especially that emitted by vehicles. Parents and the schools have been asking us to do something about the huge volume of traffic at school opening and closing times.
“The Healthy School Streets programme is delivering that – we are seeing an encouraging reduction in levels of air pollution around schools taking part.
“We also know that parents and teachers have concerns about road safety and we want to make sure that children are safe when they go to school. Parents and pupils are now seeing the benefits of safer streets. This is resulting in more children walking and cycling to school.
“These schemes are making the neighbourhoods around schools healthier, safer and friendlier for the residents, the school community and the environment.”
The Council has released a short film about the successful effects of Healthy School Streets. looking at the positive impacts of healthy school streets has had on lowering air pollution and improving road safety around the schools which are part of the programme.
Speaking with school staff, parents and councillors the film includes footage showing the busy, polluted roads outside a school before the scheme was introduced. Since being introduced the road is almost traffic free.
The Healthy School Streets programme was first introduced in 2019, with 5 schools (around 3,600 pupils) selected. The second phase of 9 schools, introduced in 2021, takes in almost 5,800 pupils. The third phase rolls out this year, with 11 more schools selected. Healthy School Streets is making a big difference.
Only pedestrians and cyclists, as well as approved vehicles are allowed into the streets during term time drop off and pick up hours. All other traffic is barred, with fines issued for contravening motorists caught on camera.
Newham also has one of the highest percentages of under 18s with asthma in the UK, and this is directly related to poor air quality. Air pollution goes beyond pulmonary and respiratory implications for young children, it can also affect their cognitive development and susceptibility to depressive illnesses
You can find out more about Healthy School Streets on www.newham.gov.uk/schools-education/healthy-school-streets