'No silver bullet' to solve air pollution, says councillor

A Sheffield campaigner has called for roads outside schools to be closed to traffic at drop off and pick up times.

Monday, 10th December 2018, 12:50 pm
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 12:55 pm
Councillor Jack Scott

Graham Turnbull presented a 1,444-name petition to councillors calling for School Streets, a national pilot scheme where traffic is restricted during the times of the day when children are arriving or leaving school.

Mr Turnbull said: 'Sheffield has 25 schools in areas of high, sometimes illegal, air pollution.

'High air pollution levels exacerbate respiratory illnesses like asthma and recent studies have shown that children exposed to high pollution levels have reduced lung capacity that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

'Sheffield has a clean air strategy that already recognises the need to take action on poor air quality, especially around schools. 20mph and anti-idling initiatives are great but will not make enough of a difference.

'Edinburgh, Southwark, Hackney and Solihull have already implemented School Streets to protect children from traffic and traffic related pollution at the school gate. School Streets encourages active travel, improves air quality in the classroom, and reduces traffic congestion for everyone.'

Coun Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport, said the council was already working to tackle air pollution but there was no quick solution and any schemes needed the support of drivers.

He said: 'You are absolutely right to highlight this. We should do everything we can to improve air quality and especially in areas where people are more vulnerable to the affects, such as children.

'We have to take more action as a city and we have identified this as a public health concern.

'Schools have an important role to play but this can't be solved with a silver bullet to sort this out in one go.

'We need to have a much more ambitious programme not just about stopping vehicles visiting schools for a short period of time. We need to get drivers on board as well because we don't want to damage our city or put people off taking a journey they may need to do.'