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Closing roads to protect young lungs

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets has announced that 50 primary schools in the borough will benefit from School Streets, an initiative to close roads to traffic or restrict the volume of cars passing by schools.

£200,000 has been allocated for works to start on fifteen schools this year and next (2019/2020). Each school will get a tailored programme of works to improve road safety and help protect pupils from air pollution.

One-way streets to reduce conflicting traffic movement, new crossings and timed restrictions on traffic at school entry and exit times are some of the proposals that could be introduced.

Fixed Penalty Notices would be issued to car owners that flout the new measures.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:

“The introduction of School Streets will help improve air quality around the schools. It’s part of our ongoing strategy to tackle pollution and the toxic fumes that can damage the lungs of children and vulnerable adults.”

Councillor Rachel Blake, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Air Quality added:

“It is unacceptable that children in Tower Hamlets have smaller lungs because of air pollution and school streets should help us to get air quality within legal limits. We want to do what we can to tackle air pollution in Tower Hamlets.”

In December 2018, the council permanently closed Salmon Road, which leads up to Sir William Burrough Primary School. Parents, teachers and students have said they were pleased with the new, safe place for children to play and the reduction in idling cars.

The council has committed to continue funding into future years.