One quarter of London's morning peak hour traffic is made up of families on the school run. In Ealing, 84% of primary school aged children live within one mile of their school. This distance takes approximately 20 minutes to walk or five minutes to cycle. The health benefits of active travel are well documented. With 39% of Ealing's Year 6 pupils obese or overweight*, it is more important than ever for children to be using active travel to get to school each day. Public Health England guidance recommends 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity for children of this age group. The school journey is a good way to help children achieve this using active travel. School Streets enable more children to choose active travel for their school journey. Ealing Council are working to deliver school streets, making active travel easier, safer and with better quality air for communities across the borough.
What is a School Street?
School Streets is a scheme where the streets near a school are closed to most traffic at school opening and closing times. Closing the streets to school and through traffic provides a low traffic area, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to use the road space and enable social distancing. School Streets help to achieve a safer, more pleasant environment for everyone using the streets whilst maintaining access for residents and businesses within the designated zone.
What have we done so far?
Ealing's first School Street was launched at Perivale Primary and St John Fisher Catholic schools in September 2020. This scheme was developed in consultation with the school and local community, over a period of 18 months. Almost 80% of those consulted agreed or strongly agreed that the School Street was a good idea.
School streets were identified as a vital component of the COVID recovery by supporting the Government's recommendation to use active travel for the school journey. A further 11 schemes were delivered in November 2020, as part of Transport for London's (TFL) London Streetspace Programme (LSP), their emergency COVID-19 transport schemes.These schemes were delivered within a short time frame. Read more on the emergency COVID-19 transport schemes.
In May 2021 the council carried out a formal consultation of all School Streets with residents, businesses and the school communities. An independent evaluation of the schemes is being undertaken and the results will be presented to Cabinet. They will make a decision about whether each School Street is made permanent, is amended or cancelled.
How does it work?
The streets around school entrances become a pedestrian and cycle zone before and after school. Signs at the entrances to the scheme inform drivers of the restrictions. Non-registered vehicles will not be allowed to enter the scheme during the times of operation.
What legal process has the council followed in implementing this scheme?
The School Streets are implemented using an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) which is a legal framework that imposes traffic and parking restrictions such as road closures, on specific streets, for up to 18 months. Unlike our normal schemes, they do not require public consultation prior to the making of an ETO and the statutory consultation usually takes place during the first six months after the scheme is installed.
By nature of the ETO, the public has the opportunity to experience the scheme and feedback on the new road layout during the experimental period. This allows people to experience the new measure to fully see how it works. They can provide feedback to contribute to the council's decision whether or not to make it a permanent scheme.
How are they enforced?
Some School Streets are enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. Any vehicle that does not have approval to access a School Street with ANPR will receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
Other schemes are enforced by a physical barrier that is in place for the duration of the agreed times. Volunteers from the school or community will ask drivers of unauthorised vehicles not to enter the area. Advanced warning signs are installed. The volunteers will move the barrier for permitted vehicles.
Who can access the School Street?
Access to the School Street is limited to vehicles registered at properties and businesses within the designated area and Blue Badge holders working within the scheme or dropping a child at the school. Some other vehicles that are approved by Ealing Council will receive dispensation, such as emergency service vehicles and contract school transport dropping or picking up pupils from the school or their home address if it is within a School Street scheme. They must all apply to register their vehicle to enter the closure without penalty. Other vehicles entering the School Street during operational hours will be issued with a PCN.
For an ANPR enforced scheme please apply online for a permit. For the barrier enforced schemes please contact email@example.com with your name and full address and a permit will be posted to you. Permits are issued at no cost to the applicant.
Where can I find further information?
Please contact Ealing Council's school travel team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can download our frequently asked questions.