Leith pupils at biggest risk on Edinburgh roads

Angela Blacklock says the figures, including St Mary's RC Primary, could be down to tram work traffic. Picture: Pamela Grigg
Angela Blacklock says the figures, including St Mary's RC Primary, could be down to tram work traffic. Picture: Pamela Grigg
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TWO of the worst road accident blackspots for children in Scotland have been identified in the Capital.

New analysis of collision figures has shown that primary school children in the area around St Mary’s RC Primary in East London Street are in the most danger in Edinburgh, with the street also ranked the second worst in the country.

The figures also revealed primary school children in Leith were at the greatest risk of being involved in a road accident compared with other areas of Edinburgh, with one councillor suggesting the danger was increased by extra 
traffic and roadworks created by the tram project.

The study, compiled from UK Government statistics by Axa Car Insurance, measured the number of collisions involving children which took place on roads within a third of a mile of schools between 2006 and 2011.

According to the figures, primary schools in the Leith area accounted for three out of six of the most dangerous locations in Edinburgh.

The area around St Mary’s RC Primary saw 28 accidents involving youngsters in that time. Scotland-wide, this was only topped by the area surrounding Annette Street Primary in Govanhill, which recorded 29 incidents.

The second most dangerous school area in Edinburgh, the area surrounding Leith Primary was also ranked joint-fifth most dangerous in the country, with 23 incidents. 
St Joseph’s RC and Broomhouse Primary saw 20 incidents, with Leith Walk Primary and Tollcross Primary also both recording 18.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds stressed that the council took road safety around schools “extremely seriously”.

She said: “There is nothing in this data which indicates the collisions relate specifically to the schools themselves, as many of these collisions could have happened during the school holidays.

“The surrounding area to St Mary’s is extremely busy with vehicles, as they take up streets like Leith Walk and Broughton Street.

“Road safety around our schools is something we take extremely seriously, as shown by the number of road safety awareness initiatives we run.”

However, local Labour councillor Angela Blacklock said ongoing roadworks in the area could be a factor.

She said: “The council is investing millions in improving Leith Walk and has been consulting widely with a number of organisations, including local community groups. The plans we have are excellent and these improvements will happen, but we know that the area has been extremely busy due to things like the tram works. The temporary road markings that have been in place are not ideal, and may have been contributory.”

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said most child injuries occurred after school, when children were subject to less supervision.

He added: “Inner-city schools will always present a higher risk than those in the suburbs. More children tend to walk to them, parked cars can present a hazard and narrow and busy streets mean that incidents are more likely.”