Primaries vie to join car ban scheme

Victoria Road is one of three streets closed to traffic in Haddington to keep cars away from schools. Picture: Greg Macvean
Victoria Road is one of three streets closed to traffic in Haddington to keep cars away from schools. Picture: Greg Macvean
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more than 30 city primaries have asked to take part in a groundbreaking trial to ban cars from nearby streets at drop-off times.

Roads within 300 metres of campuses would be sealed off to traffic for 30 minutes before and after the start and end of the school day under the pioneering plans that have attracted more than a third of Capital primaries.

But the 31 interested schools are competing for up to five places in the pilot project set to come into force by the summer term of 2015.

The 18-month scheme will hand traffic wardens the power to turn away vehicles in nearby streets during the restricted hours.

It comes six months after education chiefs in East Lothian banned cars from three roads leading to primary schools in Haddington – the first ban of its kind in Scotland.

Edinburgh’s road closures are being introduced in response to a minority of people driving or parking irresponsibly close to the school.

Wardens will enforce the traffic restrictions by issuing a £50 fixed fine to those caught flouting the rules.

Under the plans, only permit and Blue Badge holders would be able to park outside the schools during the busy periods.

Parents have long complained of parking “chaos” outside Bruntsfield Primary – one of the rush of schools applying to take part.

Mum Sara Dorman, 43, whose daughter attends the school, was hopeful Brunstsfield would be among those selected. She said: “It is located within a cul-de-sac so there are particular issues with parents turning around, the road and pavements are also quite narrow.

It is understood that schools with gates facing on to main roads that are bus routes or emergency service corridors are exempt from consideration. Cases where extra traffic could be pushed onto surrounding residential streets will not be considered.

Parents in Haddington claim the car ban there had “made a real difference”. Mum Leighanne Carde, 29, whose two daughters attend schools in the area, said the fall in traffic was noticeable.

“It was always the same people who would continually drive as close as they could to the school,” she said.

“It has moved people on but I’ve heard that other areas are more congested now.”

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “It is encouraging to see the number of schools showing an interest in the pilot, which has received a positive response from the public. Similar schemes already operate successfully in other local authorities like East Lothian and Dundee.

“By closing streets at the start and end of school days we not only hope to create a safer, more pleasant environment, but also hope to encourage pupils to walk and cycle in, promoting healthy living.

“We will now assess the schools who have shown an interest for their suitability, consulting with parents, staff and local residents to select up to five to participate in the pilot which, if a success, could be rolled out more widely.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com