TRAFFIC is set to be banned from the streets around six city primary schools in a bid to improve pupil safety and reduce congestion.
A council pilot scheme will see cars banished for an hour at the beginning and end of the school day from next month – effectively bringing an end to the school run.
The move, which will see almost 20 roads across Edinburgh cut off to vehicles at peak times, comes after a similar trial was successful in East Lothian last year.
And motorists who flout the rules risk landing points on their licence and hefty fines.
Abbeyhill, Duddingston, Colinton, Cramond, Sciennes and St John’s RC primary schools will all introduce an exclusion zone from September 22 after applying to the council to take part, with Towerbank, St Peter’s, Clermiston, Bonaly and Buckstone to follow in a second phase in February next year.
The traffic ban will run for 18 months before a decision is made on whether to make the scheme permanent or roll it out elsewhere in the city.
But Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists said the measures would inconvenience parents for no good reason.
He said: “We are not absolutely convinced this is really required on road safety grounds. There are very few accidents outside schools in Edinburgh. It’s actually a very safe location. There’s no strong safety case.”
Barbara Schuler, policy manager of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said it was a “balance between safety and convenience”, adding: “But I would say that the safety issue is one that most parents will be supportive of.”
Key streets included in the proposals include Sciennes Road, Hamilton Drive, Cramond Crescent and Cramond Terrace, Redford Bank and Redford Place.
But residents, disabled people, emergency vehicles, school buses, healthcare workers and carers will all be exempt from the ban – along with workmen.
In the case of Sciennes Road, a report to the council’s transport and environment committee also recommends letting through goods vehicles, taxis and private hire vehicles bound for the Sick Kids hospital.
The East Lothian trial, which took place at three primary schools in Haddington last year, saw police traffic wardens dishing out £50 fines to those caught breaking the rules.
Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said traffic around schools was “a big issue” for families.
She said: “Parents have to be consulted and involved in the decision-making. If parents are supportive of it, it’s a good idea.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “This pilot will create a safer, more pleasant environment in the streets involved, as well as promoting active travel by pupils, so we’re pleased that so many schools want to take part.
“We have listened to local residents, businesses and the care sector to ensure changes suit their needs as much as possible, and now look forward to implementing School Streets for the first six schools in the pilot.”