School Streets: a greener way to travel

School run traffic adds hundreds of thousands of motorised vehicles a day to our road networks and accounts for a quarter of cars on the road. This causes a significant spike in pollution and increased risk to children and their families from toxic air and road danger. It also contributes to climate change: 44% of carbon emissions in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region come from transport with car mileage per head much higher than the UK average.

In 2018, the University of Bath and the University of Oxford announced research findings which showed that health damage from vehicle emissions costs the NHS and society £6 billion a year. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution; yet parents driving them to school causes a trebling in pollution levels. In the same year, statistics from the Department for Transport revealed that 14% of child fatalities on British roads were between the morning school run (7-9am) and 23% after school between 3-5pm. In short, the prevalence of motor vehicles doing the school run is seriously damaging the health of our nation and we need to find ways to reduce associated traffic.

A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised vehicles at school drop off and pick up times which creates a safer, more pleasant environment and helps more families choose active travel for their daily journeys. The nationwide scheme offers a proactive solution for local communities to tackle air pollution, carbon emissions, low activity rates and road danger.

Find out more

In June 2020, Cambridgeshire joined the list of councils supporting the School Streets initiative. Since then, the scheme has been implemented in both city-based and rural schools.

In early March, Camcycle hosted a webinar to introduce School Streets in collaboration with South Cambridgeshire District Council as part of their Climate and Environment Fortnight.

In this short introduction to School Streets, staff members from Camcycle explain what a School Street is, what kind of impact they have on travel behaviour, pollution and road safety and what’s involved in setting one up. Lyn Hesse, Senior Road Safety Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council explains how the scheme works in our county and answers questions raised by viewers. This webinar is part of a project made possible by South Cambridgeshire District Council through the Zero Carbon Communities Grant.

How do we get a School Street?

Parents, teachers, residents – anyone can initiate a School Street. You can:


Camcycle is a volunteer-led charity which works for more, better and safer cycling for all ages and abilities in and around Cambridge. Our vision is for a thriving and sustainable region of healthy, happy people where everyone feels able to enjoy the benefits of cycling. Current work on the School Streets initiative is funded by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

South Cambridgeshire District Council

The District Council‘s vision is to lead the transition to low carbon living in South Cambridgeshire. The Council’s Zero Carbon Strategy aims to:

  • Put its own house in order, so it is an example to others, and work with partners to encourage the adoption of its own high ambitions at scale;
  • Look at all of its work through a green and fair lens, promoting innovative low carbon solutions that also address problems of fuel poverty and lack of access to affordable housing and good public transport;
  • Encourage low carbon energy generation in the district in suitable settings;
  • Be ambitious in its support of new woodland, which will helps to double nature as well as reach net zero carbon

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