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Motorised traffic will be restricted during drop-off and pick-up times on roads around a number of Portsmouth schools during a six-month trial which starts in September

The trial will enable children, parents and carers who walk, cycle and scoot to school during the trial to have a safer and healthier car-free journey, resulting in cleaner air for everyone to enjoy.

Portsmouth City Council is working with walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, to introduce a trial of School Streets, the first of its kind in the city. Often described as ‘a revolution at the school gates’, School Streets have been a great success in other parts of the UK and have proved overwhelmingly popular with parents, pupils and local residents.

In a school street, temporary restrictions for motorised traffic are introduced to the road outside the school during drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to school traffic and through traffic, resulting in a safer, healthier environment which develops cleaner air, results in reduced traffic congestion in residential areas and can lead to a reduction in road danger around schools.

By preventing cars from driving to the school gates, the street becomes a fun and safe place for children to walk, scoot and cycle with cleaner air. Residents, blue badge holders and other pre-agreed vehicles, such as home to school transport and vehicles which allow access for people with disabilities and reduced mobility, will retain access. Other vehicles are not permitted to enter the street during drop-off and pick-up times.

Children, parents and carers will be encouraged to make walking or cycling to school a regular part of their school travel routine and leave the car at home.

The Portsmouth trial will take part in two phases and is being funded by the government’s Active Travel Fund and the Travel Demand Management Fund, which supports initiatives which encourage alternative ways of travelling during peak times. The fund supports schemes that will leave a legacy and impact future behavioural change. The council and participating schools will work closely with residents and local businesses to raise awareness of the trial.

The trial will be carried out in two phases, each lasting seven weeks. Phase 1 will take place between September and November and Phase 2 will be rolled out between February and April 2022. A taster day, to be held in June, will give parents the opportunity to find out more and will help them understand what to expect in the term leading up to the start of the trial. The schools who have requested to take part in the trial will be announced shortly.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education, said “I’m delighted that we’re able to introduce this trial of School Streets to Portsmouth. We’ve been listening to school communities and will carefully select the schools who have requested to take part in the trial based on casualty data and requests for better traffic control in these areas. I hope that parents and children will be able to embrace all the benefits that active travel brings to their lives, laying the foundations for an active and healthy future.”

Megan Streb, partnerships manager at Sustrans, said “We’re really pleased to be supporting Portsmouth City Council to trial the School Streets initiative.

“School Streets schemes in other parts of the country have proved beneficial for road safety and air quality. And they create a cleaner, more pleasant environment outside the school.

“In turn, School Streets increase the likelihood that children will walk or cycle to school instead of being dropped off in a car, so they get to school feeling alert and ready for a day of learning.”

To find out more about School Streets email schoolstreets@portsmouthcc.gov.uk