School CCTV to catch lazy parking parents

Parents block roads outside Bruntsfield Primary School. Picture: comp

Parents block roads outside Bruntsfield Primary School. Picture: comp

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CCTV will be used to snoop on parents who park recklessly outside school gates under radical plans to expose repeat offenders.

Parents face being fined or “named and shamed” by council bosses as part of a crackdown on school-run motorists who put pupils at risk by lazy driving

It comes amid reports of several “near misses” outside school gates as children make their way to class.

The city is set to introduced “exclusion zones” at 11 primary schools banning cars from streets surrounding schools at drop-off and collection times.

Angry mums and dads at St John’s Primary – which was chosen to take part in the pilot – have even resorted to flyering vehicles belonging to those who persistently break the rules. A number of English schools have already deployed CCTV as a tool to identify offenders and impose fines, although a similar approach here is likely to ­require legislative changes.

Parent leaders admitted some of the proposed solutions could be deemed controversial but said the time had come to consider tough action.

Lindsay Law, parent representative on the city’s education committee, said: “It compromises the safety of children – there’s no question about that.

“In this situation, I think we need to look at more extreme measures to get the message across that it’s not acceptable to park near schools.

“It’s also something that ­affects a school’s relationship with its neighbours: business-owners and residents who live and work nearby will feel an impact every day from people who are parking in places where they shouldn’t be.”

Antonis Giannopoulos, of Bruntsfield Primary parent council – one of the schools worst affected by parking free-for-alls – agreed that while tough measures were needed the city should be cautious about fining and naming and shaming parents.

“Speaking personally, I don’t necessarily think these things are a bad idea but they will have to be considered carefully, and ­maybe there are other things that could be trialled first,” he said.

However, critics said some of the proposed measures amounted to “using a hammer to crack a nut”.

The controversial plan has been drawn up following a consultation with parents.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: 
“Issuing tickets based on ­camera evidence worries me.

“The camera doesn’t know the background of what’s going on. The camera is black and white but parking and dropping off is always a grey area, and that will lead to people thinking this is just about raising money.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, the education leader, said all ­options raised by families were being considered.

He said: “These suggestions have come from the Consultative Committee with Parents and I think it shows the way that we are working with them.

“We’re having a genuine ­dialogue with them.”