Whipton Barton Federation to Benefit from Innovative School Street Scheme

Exeter-based Whipton Barton Federation will be taking part in the ‘School Streets’ scheme – which will see the road outside the school closed to traffic during drop off and pick up times.

The federation, which comprises of a day nursery, infant and junior school, is just one of three schools in the south west to take part in the scheme.

A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to school traffic and through traffic. Street schemes are designed to offer a proactive solution for school communities to tackle air pollution, poor health and road danger reduction. A School Street scheme is designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle and active travel to school for families and lead to a better environment for everyone.

Whipton Barton Federation has been working in conjunction with Devon County Council to implement the trial. The plan is for Hill Lane to be temporarily closed between 8.30am and 9.15am and again between 2.45pm and 3.30pm on weekdays during term time, from Monday, October 19, 2020. If the initial trial is a success it will become a permanent feature from the new year.

Gary Read, Whipton Barton headteacher, said he had been frustrated by the number of parents who flouted regulations and parked inconsiderately outside the school. Last year, pupils even staged their own awareness campaign, holding placards outside the gates during the pick up period; calling on parents to drive and park safely.

Mr Read said: “Our children deserve to come to school in an environment that is free from pollution and free from danger. Implementing this scheme will make it much safer for all our children coming and going from school, whilst also promoting active travel.

“To implement this, we have followed an established and detailed legal process and taken into account the impact on the people living in nearby streets, who for many years have put up with inconsiderate driving and parking.”

A recent report into the impact of School Streets, by Dr Adrian Davis, professor of transport and health at Edinburgh Napier University, found that school street closures can improve the number of children walking, cycling and wheeling to school without creating road safety problems. Additionally, the report revealed that an increase in school street closures would not result in traffic displacement causing road safety issues in neighbouring streets.

Dr Davis said: “It is noteworthy that such a simple intervention can have really positive impacts in terms of increasing children physical activity levels and with this the associated improvements in wellbeing. School street closures looks to be a win-win for residents, schools and children and their families.”

Adam Taylor, a parent with three children at the school, welcomed the trial. He said: “In the past people have parked on the pavement forcing pedestrians to walk on the road as the pavements are then not big enough to walk along, especially if you are pushing a pram. To take away the traffic just for this small amount of time each day will be huge advantage and stop Hill Lane getting so congested.”