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Roads leading to and from schools in Redbridge to be closed to tackle pollution

Picture: Redbridge Town Hall

Roads around schools in Redbridge could be closed at the start and end of the school day to help tackle air pollution.

‘Clean Air Zones’ are being created to protect children from air pollution and traffic on their way to and from school.

Redbridge Council has received £200,000 from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to implement a consultation period for the first zone outside Saints Peter and Paul’s Primary School in Ilford.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Jas Athwal said: “I am enormously pleased that the Mayor has awarded us funding to make the roads around schools much safer and healthier for our residents by creating ‘Redbridge Clean Air Zones’.

“It’s our absolute duty to protect our children’s health, both as a council and as part of the community ourselves and these zones will target congested areas outside of schools by cutting down on pollution caused by traffic.

“We just need parents to be aware air quality is a major issue. Some of the biggest chronic illnesses are due to the fumes from the cars and some of our schools are the ones that suffer the most around opening and closing.”

Earlier this year, Redbridge Council was also successful in a bid for £3 million from the same £22m Mayor’s fund to transform access to Ilford town centre and tackle an air pollution hotspot.

The project has already proved popular with other schools around the area wanting to be involved in the Clean Air Zone, Jas Athwal said: “We’ve had a couple of schools who have been very keen to really start this bid off because they’ve had both the air quality issues in central Ilford and Fairlop and they’ve also had safety issues as well, so both air quality and safety have been major concerns for them.

“Already people at other schools have seen the benefits that this is going to bring and now we’ve got a clamber for different schools saying can we be part of the pilot as well. We’ve got the two schools in the pilot and if this works well we hope to roll it out to all the others.”

Redbridge Council says its aim is to change how parents drop off and pickup their children and not to make money catching people driving in the restricted areas. 

Cllr Athwal added: “I’m hoping if people started walking, it’ll actually make it easier and parking in-front of the school is not always quicker because most of the roads are generally gridlocked so you get in but you can’t get out, so parking 100 yards down the road is not going to make a major difference.

“Certainly we will be making sure that people are aware they can’t enter these zones because the whole thing isn’t about money making, it’s actually about making sure the streets are cleaner in terms of the air quality and safer for the children.”

You can find out more about the consultation and have your say here: https://engagement.redbridge.gov.uk/civic-pride/air-quality/

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