Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are pushing to make the streets around our county’s schools safer and to enable social distancing as pupils return.

As the Government instructs people to return to work and tens of thousands of pupils to return to our county’s schools, Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are looking to take advantage of new national guidance to make the journey to school safer, more active and to enable children and parents to remain socially distant. 

Exposure to air pollution for children can lead to permanent lung damage and developmental issues – with the greatest levels of exposure occurring at school drop off and pick up times.  This is why Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are bringing a motion to enable all schools to stop traffic outside their schools at peak hours, giving the street over to pupils and parents walking and cycling to school.

Cllr Iain Dobie’s motion, being brought to the county’s first virtual Full Council, calls for the roll out of “school streets” schemes to all schools in the county who wish to take part.  The Lib Dems are also pushing for additional green measures that would prevent toxins getting past the school gate, such as trees, hedges and living walls, to be piloted in 2020/21. 

Cllr Iain Dobie said of the motion

‘With the national Government telling Local Authorities to take steps to encourage walking and cycling during the pandemic, we are calling on the county council to deliver truly transformative initiatives such as “school street” schemes, which enable social distancing, encourage active travel to school and prevent children breathing in pollutants which can cause permanent damage.

‘We want as many children as possible to benefit from life-saving schemes, which is why we’re encouraging the county council to offer this to all viable schools.’

Cllr Nigel Robbins, who is seconding the motion, said:

‘Anyone who has seen school gates at drop off and pick up times knows how hectic the traffic can be – presenting a clear danger to our pupils. By preventing car access during peak hours, “school streets” schemes make the journey to school safer while also preventing indefensible permanent damage to our children's long-term health.’

‘Our motion presents the Conservatives with the opportunity to show their commitment to the safety of our county’s children and test their commitment to delivering transformative changes to our highways. I trust they will all vote with us on 24 June.’

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