Two new School Streets set to improve journeys for children and air quality for residents

Most children in Cambridgeshire are returning to school today after the Easter holidays and for students attending two schools in Cambridge, their journeys should be safer and more pleasant than usual.

School Street, Norfolk Street, CambridgeFollowing the success of other School Street schemes in the county, St Bedes Inter-Church School and St Matthew’s Primary School are joining the initiative this week. Birdwood Road and St Thomas’s Road will be closed to motor traffic from 8-9am and 3-4pm on weekdays in termtime and Norfolk Street will be closed from 8.30-9.30am and from 2.45-3.30pm (both schemes retain access for residents, taxis, buses and blue badge holders). This will reduce road danger immediately outside each school, helping more families choose to walk or cycle. It will also provide more space for social distancing and safe queueing to ensure our region continues to keep coronavirus cases down and protect its residents.

Reducing air pollution is another key goal of the scheme and an aspect that will benefit both schoolchildren and local residents. Cambridgeshire County Council will be monitoring air quality in both locations during the trial, which will be active from Monday 12 April, 2021. A recent report into School Streets in London showed that closing roads to motor vehicles at pick-up and drop-off times had cut toxic nitrogen dioxide levels by up to 23 per cent. In addition to improving children’s health, research suggests that this level of improvement could also positively affect their ability to learn through improvements to the development of children’s working memory.

Camcycle strongly supports School Streets schemes and would like to see more children across Cambridgeshire able to choose to walk, cycle, wheel or scoot for short journeys to school. We produced a film about the successful scheme at St Philip’s Primary School and hosted an introductory webinar about School Streets as part of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment fortnight. You can view both these videos and find more School Streets resources on our School Street campaign page.

If you have experience of a successful School Street scheme in the county as a volunteer or parent, please get in touch as we’d love to hear your stories and help grow the initiative in more schools.

We also encourage residents and supporters of the two new schemes to respond to the county council consultation. Send your views and experiences to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk between 12 April and 12 October quoting the reference PR0704.