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Is the school run too toxic for our kids?

Roger Gambba-Jones in Winsover Road, one of Spalding's traffic hotspots. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG230514-4
Roger Gambba-Jones in Winsover Road, one of Spalding's traffic hotspots. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG230514-4

The school run is under fire from campaigners who want to reduce airborne toxins that could harm kids and adults alike.

A Government survey shows one in four cars on the road at peak times is on the school run, and Jenni Wiggle from the charity Living Streets wants councils to work with schools to ban people from driving up to the school gates.

Spalding district councillor Roger Gambba-Jones highlighted the issue this week, and broadly supports the call but says an holistic approach is needed to traffic management in our towns.

He said: "Focusing just on schools simply displaces it to other areas."

An investigation by the national newspaper, The Guardian, showed more than 2,000 UK schools are in pollution hot spots.

Air pollution is involved in 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK, and toxic air is linked to conditions like asthma and chronic chest problems.

Spalding head teacher Kira Nicholls said: "At St Paul's we are very lucky that a lot of our pupils are within walking distance from the school and either walk, scooter or cycle to school with their parents.

"The road outside our school is notoriously a busy road though regardless of school traffic - our KS1 classes completed a survey recently and it was surprising just how many industrial vehicles use Queens Road as a cut through.

"Sadly, Queens Road runs along the front of our school where our Early Years area is so it is not ideal at all."

David Robinson, the county council children's services commissioning manager, said the authority provides up to 20,000 school/college journeys a day using sustainable transport, buses, minibuses and trains.

He said new low-emissions targets will apply to vehicles commissioned by the council in the next few years, and the authority is committed to decreasing carbon and other air pollutants where possible.


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