Children walking to school

Council expands popular School Streets programme

Barking and Dagenham Council has recently expanded its successful School Streets programme which aims to keep kids safe by reducing the amount traffic on roads in and around schools.

A school street is a road outside a school which has a temporary traffic restriction during school pick-up and drop-off times (8am - 9.15am and 2.45pm – 4.00pm).

The scheme, managed by Be First on behalf of the council, which started in 2021 and now featuring 10 schools in the borough, has been a hit with schools and parents alike, with many now feeling safer bringing their child to school and finding the benefits of early morning exercise.

Marsh Green Primary, Valence Primary School and Thames View Juniors have all recently joined the programme.

Before a School Street is implemented, the council’s wholly owned regeneration company, Be First, consult with the school and the local neighbourhood to gauge local opinion and assess whether the area would be suitable.

Surveys of residents, schools and pupils show over 70% support the programme and many more schools want to join the scheme to improve road safety and air quality for the borough’s young people.

School Streets reduce the chances of an accident taking place by drastically reducing the number of cars on roads around schools when they are at their busiest.

Currently, the programme has 10 schools taking part with 17 roads affected, with some schools closing more than one street during pick up and drop off because of multiple entrances.

Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Making sure our young people are safe, healthy and active is one of the top priorities in B&D and with the School Streets scheme we’re ensuring kids can feel confident walking to school.

“We all know what a big boost a small walk in the morning can give and I’m delighted to see that over 70% of people surveyed have had good things to say about the programme.”