“We can’t let children carry on breathing this stuff” – Lib Dems condemn delay in introducing School Streets


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Labour councillors have delayed measures to keep pollution from exhaust fumes away from schools, drawing criticism from Haringey Liberal Democrats.

At a Full Council meeting on Monday 18th March, Liberal Democrat councillors proposed a motion warning that children in Haringey are being exposed to dangerous level of nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants travelling to and from school and as a response resolved to “implement School Streets or No-Idling Zones around every primary school in the borough by 2022”.

However, despite pleas from parents at local schools who had come to the meeting specifically to raise concerns about air pollution, Labour councillors voted to amend the motion, so that it only committed the Council to producing a report.

We have now setup a petition calling for this decision to be reversed. You can sign it here:

Sign our petition: "School Streets Can't Wait"

Speaking in response, Cllr Tammy Palmer (Crouch End ward), Haringey Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Children who proposed the motion said that:

I have championed a School Street at my son’s school and am delighted that one is being trialled there. But it is just one school in a very big borough. In the last few weeks I have been inundated with requests from parents from other schools in Haringey and local residents who live in the streets surrounding schools to ask how they can have a School Street or No-Idling Zone. 

“I had hoped this motion would find cross-party agreement. But unfortunately, Labour’s amendment took out the specific actions and commitments and replaces them with a promise to produce a report. Our children don’t need vague promises, they need cleaner air and they can’t afford to wait for it”.

Cllr Scott Emery (Muswell Hill ward), Haringey Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Environment further commented that:

“Just last Monday, Public Health England recommended that local authorities should implement no idling zones, citing evidence that air pollution in early life can lead to long lasting effects on lung function. We need them in in our borough and we need them as soon as possible.

“However, we are pleased that Full Council accepted the principle of a Workplace Parking Levy. Labour voted against a similar proposal the last time we made it. This is a case of better late than never”.

We have now setup a petition calling for this decision to be reversed. You can sign it here:

Sign our petition: "School Streets Can't Wait"

In advance of the meeting schoolchildren from Blanche Neville School for Deaf Children, Chestnuts Primary School, Coleridge Primary School, Highgate Primary School, Lordship Lane Primary School and St Mary's CE Primary School all came together to create a video pleading for Haringey Councillors to take action and implement School Streets without delay, which can be viewed below.

 

A video of the motion being put forward by the Lib Dems, and the resulting vote can be watched online here, and a copy of the motion showing the Labour amendment is included below:

We have now setup a petition calling for this decision to be reversed. You can sign it here:

Sign our petition: "School Streets Can't Wait"

 

Improving air quality around schools

Council notes:

  1. That according to Haringey’s Air Quality Annual Report for 2017 that local residents are exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants (especially nitrogen dioxide).
  2. That road transport is the principal source of both particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide pollution in London.
  3. That a 2018 report from London Councils states that nitrogen dioxide’s “impact on children is especially bad, with epidemiological studies showing that symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children increase in association with long-term exposure to NO2, as well as stunting lung growth”.
  4. That in February 2019, Lordship School became the first school in Haringey to operate ‘No-Idling Zones’ during drop-off and collection times.
  5. That a number of other London boroughs including Hackney, Camden and Greenwich operate a number of ‘School Streets’ whereby only pedestrians and cyclists can use roads close to a school’s entrance at start and finish times.

Council believes:

1. That air pollution poses a serious threat to the health of young people.
2. That whilst many of the policy interventions to rectify this problem would have to come from a national government or the Mayor of London, Haringey Council needs to do more.
3. That there should be more School Streets and No-Idling Zones around Haringey Schools.
4. That in the long term, Haringey should move towards them becoming universal at every school in the borough.
5. That it is important to provide parents with healthier and less polluting alternatives to driving their children to school. Therefore, the Council should invest more in walking and cycling.

Council resolves:

1. To implement School Streets or No-Idling Zones around every primary school in the borough by 2022.
1. Review our work on school streets and bring a school street action plan to Cabinet in March 2020.
2. To increase spending on active travel in future budgets.
3. To conduct a feasibility study of using a Workplace Parking Levy as a way to fund this.
3. To continue our work to develop a proposal for a potential Workplace Parking Levy for active travel/cycling and school streets.
4. To encourage local businesses to sponsor green walls on school buildings and tree planting near schools.

 

We have now setup a petition calling for this decision to be reversed. You can sign it here:

Sign our petition: "School Streets Can't Wait"


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