West Leigh Primary joins School Street pilot scheme

Parents and teachers of West Leigh Primary School have welcomed the introduction of an innovative scheme aimed at promoting active travel and improving air quality and safety near schools in Southend.

‘School Street’ is a pilot scheme which restricts access to motor vehicles on the road outside primary schools during school drop-off and pick-up times throughout school term time.

Following continued support of the two pilot schemes already in operation at Greenways and Leigh North Street, West Leigh Schools also joined the scheme on Monday April 26.

The experimental traffic regulation order for a small section of Ronald Hill Grove (between the junction of Westleigh Avenue and Marine Avenue) will be in operation Monday to Friday between 8:20am – 9:20am and 2:40pm – 3:40pm term time only, for the next 12 months.

School traffic and through traffic is not permitted during these times, but school staff will be able to access the schools, and residents that live within the restricted area have been supplied with permit stickers to allow access.

The council-trained school staff – known as School Street marshals – deploy and collect the School Street barriers and follow strict health and safety training.

The idea behind the scheme is to reduce carbon emissions being omitted from motor vehicles outside of schools and to promote other forms of active travel, such as cycling or walking to school.

The experimental traffic regulation order for a small section of Ronald Hill Grove started on Monday 26 April and will be in operation Monday to Friday between 8:20am – 9:20am and 2:40pm – 3:40pm term time only, for the next 12 months.

This initiative is being funded through the Department for Transport (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Funding.

Steve Moore, executive director for neighbourhoods and environment, said: “I am pleased that this new scheme has started at West Leigh Schools this week. Feedback from parents and teachers at the launch yesterday was very positive, with many saying the school run felt much calmer and safer.

“The School Streets project has proven very popular with Greenways and Leigh North Street school staff, pupils and also residents based on these streets. The restriction of through traffic and school traffic helps to reduce CO2 emissions in the area and improve air quality, improve safety, and also help to support social distancing measures when arriving at school.

“It is important to note that this scheme is only viable on residential roads, so as not to have a huge impact on traffic flow in and out of the town at busy times.

“Once the 12-month pilot period is up, we will have plenty of data to review and feedback to the schools and residents on the impact the scheme has had on air quality, and also the impact on active travel to and from school.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]