Cambridge

Cars could be banned outside primary schools in Cambridge

Car-free zones may be trialled around primary schools in Cambridge in a bid to ease school traffic and cut air pollution.

Parents are concerned their children are being exposed to illegal levels of damaging air pollution outside their schools, mainly from diesel vehicles, according to a motion being put to Cambridgeshire County Council next week.

Not all cars would be banned but people would need to get themselves a special permit if they want to drive on the roads.

Cllr Noel Kavanagh, councillor for Romsey, and the county council's cycling champion, said: “The purpose of the no car zones are to encourage parents to leave their cars behind and have children walk and cycle to school."

Noel Kavanagh

He added: “The roads outside the schools are not physically closed to traffic; instead, the councils use temporary automatic number plate recognition cameras to scan if vehicles passing through the pedestrian zones have permission.”

Anyone living in the exclusion zone and their visitors would only be able to access or leave during peak times by applying for a special advanced access permit.

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Cambridge congestion

The permits would be free but motorists driving in the zones during peak times without a valid permit receive a penalty charge notice.

The scheme is designed to reduce pollution in the city as well as congestion.

Schools could soon be a car free zone in Cambridge.

Congestion is a major problem affecting Cambridge city. This can be particularly bad during the school term, and the motion says that, during school holidays, there is a “discernible reduction” in the volume of traffic, calculated to be by at least 15 per cent.

The motion reads: “Discouraging the school run will also boost walking and cycling levels, improve the health of children through the increase in exercising and help tackle obesity levels and improve the environment.

“The arrival at school will be a less stressful and less dangerous experience for children and parents and the residential areas where most schools are located will be less polluted.”

The motion will be put to the full council on July 17. If it is successful, three primary schools will be the initial subjects of the trials for a period of 18 months.

If the trialling is deemed to be successful the schemes will be made permanent and extended to other schools in Cambridge city and other towns in Cambridgeshire.

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