School car ban helps beat parking woes

Police traffic wardens are enforcing the ban. Picture: Greg Macvean
Police traffic wardens are enforcing the ban. Picture: Greg Macvean
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PARENTS are adhering to a parking pilot scheme which forces them to steer clear of primary schools at peak times.

The Evening News visited Haddington at home time last night to observe how a unique scheme to ban cars from schools around three previously car-snarled primaries was panning out.

Alison Thomson with daughters Erin, seven, and Lucy, ten, and Leighanne Carde with daughters Mia, 11, and Brooke, seven. Picture: Greg Macvean

Alison Thomson with daughters Erin, seven, and Lucy, ten, and Leighanne Carde with daughters Mia, 11, and Brooke, seven. Picture: Greg Macvean

The step – which could be rolled out to the rest of East Lothian and Edinburgh – has been welcomed by locals who were fed up with cars parking over their drives and school run mums.

But guards enforcing the crackdown were more circumspect, saying the real test will come next week when they are replaced with on-the-spot parking ticket blitzes.

The traffic exclusion zone – aimed at tackling reckless driving by parents dropping their children off at King’s Meadow Primary, Haddington Infant School and St Mary’s RC Primary – came into force a week ago.

Leighanne Carde, 29, whose daughter, Mia, 11, goes to King’s Meadow and Brooke, seven, attends Haddington Infants, said the reduction in traffic was noticeable and it was stopping the “usual offenders”. She said: “It has made a real difference by King’s Meadow. It was always the same people who would continually drive as close as they could to the school.

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

Mum-of-two Carol Wilson, 39, said the action was needed after letters sent to parents by the school were repeatedly ignored. She said: “It was awful and something needed doing or a child was going to get knocked over.”

The ban is being enforced by police traffic wardens who can issue £50 fixed penalty notices to anyone caught flouting the rules. It does not apply to residents, Blue Badge and permit holders.

From next week they will be removed, to be replaced by surprise enforcement action.

Mum-of-one Megan Dunlop, 24, whose three-year-old Riley attends Haddington Nursery, agreed it improved safety but said it had simply shifted the congestion elsewhere. She said: “It is a lot better but we could do with more parking. The streets around it are heaving and I’m having to come five to ten minutes earlier to find somewhere to park. It’s definitely safer for the wee ones which is the main thing.”

An East Lothian Council spokesman said it was “early days” for the pilot – which has sparked UK-wide interest – but said immediate feedback had been favourable.