What are School Streets?
The street outside a school banning motor vehicles from entering the designated School Street zone and travelling past school entrances during the schools' start and finish times, in term time only.
Why is this scheme being run?
School Streets aim to:
- help eliminate traffic hot spots around participating schools
- create a healthier street environment
- reduce child exposure to air pollution and the risk of road traffic accidents
- break down barriers to walking and cycling to school.
Early results from the two pilot schemes in Redbridge show that traffic at the school gates has fallen, with no reports of displaced traffic problems on surrounding roads.
Further evaluation and monitoring of the school street schemes and impacts will take place.
Is it true that people in cars breathe more pollution than walkers or cyclists?
Yes, a number of studies have shown that the inside of cars is more polluted as pollution enters the vehicle but cannot escape. People walking, scooting or cycling breathe cleaner air as pollution is dispersed by the weather.
A King’s College London study, prepared for the Greater London Authority, concluded that across all participating schools, children that walked, scooted and cycled through back streets were exposed to lower air pollution exposure levels compared to children that were driven to school or that took the bus. View the King's College London study
What does a School Street mean for me?
If you live within the restricted part of a School Street then you will need to apply for a free vehicle exemption for your vehicles. This will enable you to continue to drive to and from your property without receiving a penalty charge. Business with vehicles based within the restricted area may also be able to apply for an exemption.
If you live or have a business outside of the restricted School Street then you will not be able to drive through the zone when the restricted times are in operation. You will not be able to apply for a vehicle exemption.
To be exempt you will need to live in the red zone on the maps shown above.
How has the Council consulted on School Streets?
Initially the Council discussed implementing School Streets with individual Schools and local ward councillors. This enabled local issues to be highlighted and understood to ensure a robust proposal.
Once an initial School Street proposal had been agreed, the public consultation opened. The Council wrote to residents within proposed restricted areas and those who may be impacted by dispersed traffic and parental parking.
Consultations were available on the consultation pages on the Redbridge website, allowing all residents and non-residents to provide the Council with their views, comments, support and objections. An evening webinar was also delivered by council officers, open to residents to raise awareness of School Streets Schools provided information on the consultation to parents, carers and staff.
A decision on whether to proceed or not with the scheme was made by the Council taking into account the consultation response and other evidence. This decision was publicised to members of the public in writing and through the Council website.
School Streets are implemented by an Experimental Traffic Order. Residents have a further opportunity to provide the Council with their views when the Experimental order is made permanent.
Won’t this scheme just push more traffic to other roads?
The Council is working closely with each school to promote active and sustainable transport through encouraging the use of public transport, walking, cycling, and scooting to reduce private car traffic. We hope that parents and children who currently travel by car will consider changing the way that they travel to school, switching unnecessary car trips to those mentioned above.
Those parents that continue to choose to transport their children to school by car during the restricted times will need to avoid the School Street. We hope this results in all pupils attending the school breathing cleaner air, and feeling safer at the school gates.
A report by Edinburgh Napier University reviewing School Streets in the UK and Europe concluded that there is:
“Medium strength evidence that in almost all cases the total number of motor vehicles across school [streets] closures and neighbouring streets reduces”.
How is the success of a School Street measured?
Each participating school is consulted to understand the impact of the scheme at the school gate, perceptions of safety and changes in travel behaviour.
Pollution will be measured by real-time pollution monitors at selected locations.
Road safety statistics are produced and assessed on an annual basis.
Travel behaviour of children and school staff to and from school is measured annually as part of monitoring the School Travel Plan.
How are School Streets enforced and how much could I be fined?
School Streets zones are identified with signs and enforced using Traffic Enforcement Cameras located on the approach to and at entry points of the zones.
Penalty charge notices shall be issued for any vehicle that unlawfully enters the School Streets zone.
The penalty charge is £130. A 50% discount is applied if payment is made within 14 days reducing the penalty charge to £65.
Am I entitled to an exemption?
Residents and businesses that are located, or have their property vehicle access located within the Redbridge School Street can apply for a free vehicle exemption from the Council. This will allow you to enter and travel through the School Street zone during the restricted times, without having a penalty notice charge
Electric or hybrid electric vehicles are not exempt from the Redbridge school street zones as the aim is to reduce all traffic at the school gates to create a healthier street and to encourage more children and families to walk and cycle to school.
To be exempt you will need to live in the red zone on the maps shown above.
To apply for a free exemption please complete the online exemption form.
How much will it cost me for an exemption?
If you are eligible for an exemption then you will not be charged.
Are School Streets enforced over the weekend, bank holidays and during school half term?
The School Street zones are enforced on weekdays during school term-time only.
School Streets are not enforced at weekends, during school holidays, or bank holidays.
Will there be a grace period?
Where new School Streets are introduced there will be a short grace period where any drivers passing through the school street or infringing the restrictions during the restricted times will receive a warning letter instead of a penalty notice. This will help raise awareness of the scheme and enable local residents to get used to the changes before penalty charge notices are issued.
We expect the grace period to begin at the start of the autumn term in September 2021 for the newly introduced School Streets.
What if a child needs to be transported to school in a vehicle for safeguarding and welfare reasons?
Arrangements are in place at each school to ensure that those children having specific travel needs e.g. disabilities or Special Educational Needs, are still able to be safely transported by their parents to school.
Please email the email@example.com or write to School Streets Team, 10th Floor Front, Lynton House, 255-259 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1NY to request such an exemption.
I have a Blue Badge, am I exempted from the School Streets restriction?
If you live within the zone you shall be eligible for an exemption and should apply for a free exemption to avoid a penalty charge notice.
Blue badge drivers living outside the School Street are not automatically exempted from School Streets restrictions.
Having a blue badge will not allow badge holders to drive through a School Streets during the restricted times as the vehicle still contributes towards poor air quality and congestion outside the school.
There may be grounds for blue badge holders to appeal a penalty charge notice, provided they can evidence that there was no suitable alternative to entering a School Street at a restricted time.
I have daily health and/or social care visits. How will they be impacted?
Please contact the School Streets Team to discuss your specific requirements, as each case needs to be considered on an individual basis.
Please email the firstname.lastname@example.org or write to School Streets Team, 10th Floor Front, Lynton House, 255-259 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1NY.
What about the emergency services?
Any vehicle being used for police, ambulance or fire brigade purposes in an emergency is exempt from School Streets enforcement.
No physical barriers are used on our School Streets and so movement would not be restricted or prohibited when responding to calls.
How do people get to and from work?
Once an exemption has been granted residents living within the School Streets are free to access and leave their property at any time.
There is no restriction on resident’s vehicles leaving the zone during the restricted times, just restrictions on entering the zone.
Residents and businesses outside the School Street zone will need to plan and make a short detour around the Redbridge School Street to complete their commute. This is likely to add only a few minutes to their journey and by avoiding the School Street at the restricted times will help reduce the impacts and risks to children associated with road safety and poor air quality.
We hope that the introduction of School Streets will encourage more people to adopt walking, cycling and public transport instead of using private motor vehicles to get to their place of work, where practicable.
How do businesses/ trades from outside the area access the affected streets to make deliveries and service properties?
Businesses and trades routinely deliver, service addresses and access roads that have traffic restrictions in place every day, by adapting their routes, delivery plans and service times accordingly. This results in minimum disruption to customers, with School Streets becoming part of this standard operational practice.
Residents and businesses are advised that they should inform those requiring access to properties within a School Street of the vehicle restriction. Where possible encourage visits outside the restricted times, so they can adapt their schedules accordingly.
Neither residents nor businesses within the existing two Redbridge School Street pilot areas have reported that deliveries and services have been adversely affected.
The Council does not expect borough wide deliveries to be particularly affected as School Streets are rolled-out.
Where issued with a penalty charge notice, delivery and service companies can successfully appeal this by providing proof of making a genuine delivery/visit within a School Street zone.
There is no restriction on delivery vehicles exiting the School Streets zone during operating times. The restrictions are just upon entering the zone.
To appeal the penalty charge notice it will follow the parking appeals process.
What about people who travel by taxi or private hire vehicle?
Taxi or private hire companies can successfully appeal a penalty charge notice by providing proof of collecting or dropping-off a passenger within a School Street during restricted times.
To appeal the penalty charge notice it will follow the parking appeals process.
What about visitors?
School Streets are only enforced upon entry into the restricted area. Therefore, visitors will not be allowed to enter the restricted area during the times that School Streets are in operation. If they do, their will receive a penalty charge notice.
However, visitors vehicles can exit the restricted area, without penalty and so the restrictions will not prevent visitors from leaving the address during this time.
What camera data is held by the Council from a School Street?
The School Streets traffic enforcement cameras are operated by Redbridge Council. They are only in operation i.e. recording, on weekdays during term time and during the times advised in the Traffic Management Order and as advised on the on-street signage.
The cameras cannot, and are not used for general surveillance. They are fixed and focused on a specific spot on the street to record any vehicle making a potential contravention and the associated signage. Cameras only capture the information required to issue a penalty charge notice.
Pictures are taken of the rear of the vehicle, so the driver cannot be identified.
Once the camera records a potential infringement, the automatic system checks the number plate against the list of exempted vehicles. If the vehicle registration appears on the list then the video clip is deleted. If it doesn't appear on the exemption list then the system saves a 10-15 second video clip of the event. That video clip is then manually reviewed by a Council Officer who will determine whether they believe a contravention has taken place. If they believe that a contravention has not taken place, then the video clip is discarded and no further action taken. If they decide that a contravention has taken place then a penalty charge notice is issued.
Any video clips used to support the issue of a moving penalty charge notice is kept for two years, in line with Redbridge Council Data Retention Policy. At the end of that period they are deleted, unless the case is still subject to ongoing action.
Are School Streets just a money-making exercise?
We are aware many people believe that School Streets are simply about making money for the council through fining motorists. The Council's response is that schemes are there to improve conditions for children attending school, creating a healthier and safer street at the start and end of the school day. If the number of vehicles travelling through the restricted zone (and the number of penalty charge notice's issued) does not reduce in these zones then that is not the desired outcome and changes would be considered.
Where does the money go from the fines (penalty charge notice's)?
Any surplus income generated and spent by all local authorities from on-street charging and other on and off-street enforcement activities such as School Streets is governed by Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984.
In the event of any surplus income this is redirected into the following areas for the benefit of Redbridge residents:
- meeting costs incurred in the provision or operation of, or of facilities for, public passenger transport services
- the purposes of a highway or road improvement projects, including implementation of the school street roll out
- meeting costs incurred in respect of the maintenance of roads maintained at the public expense
- the purposes of environmental improvement
- the implementation of the London transport strategy
Can the School Streets zones be widened in other Schools Streets areas to include more roads?
We’re always open to considering the expansion of our Redbridge School Streets Programme. The programme is being introduced by an Experimental Order which can be adjusted at any time and we’re continuously monitoring the School Streets Programme to deliver the best outcomes for our residents.
How can I request a School Street at my local school or the extension of an existing scheme to my street?
If you would like the council to consider your school for a School Street or for your street to be included within an existing scheme, email email@example.com or write to School Streets Team, 10th Floor Front, Lynton House, 255-259 High Road, Ilford, IG1 1NY.