Councillors call for ‘zero tolerance’ towards parents who park outside Islington schools

A file image of a vehicle parked up in Islington. The council is looking to ban vehicles parking out

A file image of a vehicle parked up in Islington. The council is looking to ban vehicles parking outside schools as part of its quest to improve air quality. Picture: Yui Mok/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Parents could be banned from driving and parking outside schools when they pick up and drop off their kids.

In an ambitious draft air quality report to be heard at an Islington Council meeting tonight, the health and care scrutiny committee has called for “zero tolerance” parking enforcement directly outside schools.

The committee believes it will reduce harmful engine idling, “an unnecessary source of local air pollution”.

The recommendation in tonight’s agenda reads: “Implement a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to parking around schools for parents dropping off and picking up children from schools (including abolishing the ‘10 minute grace period’ informal rule currently applied).”

The only exceptions to the rule would be disabled and blue badge holders.

The report, signed off by committee chairman Cllr Martin Klute (Lab), also advises the council to “close roads near schools at the beginning and end of the school day, as already happens in Hackney, and is also being piloted in Camden”.

If the recommendations are agreed, they will go to senior councillors on Islington’s executive next month. A decision on whether to adopt it as policy would then be made later this year.

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Sole opposition Cllr Caroline Russell (Green) was in full agreement with her Labour colleagues. “Parking wardens never pick this up,” she said. “It’s good the committee is addressing this. It’s a clear message to residents that we care about the air we breathe.”

Of a second recommendation to close roads near schools, Cllr Russell added: “That’s lovely. It would create a social space outside the schools.

“It doesn’t mean people can’t drive to school – it just means parking further away, which should discourage people from driving unnecessarily.

“It’s less pollution, and a strong signal that people walking and cycling to school are doing the right thing. It will also improve physical activity, which is at crisis point in this borough.”

The draft report, which was done to understand the health impact of poor air quality in Islington, also calls for a “staged introduction of higher charges for higher polluting vehicles”, while continuing with increased parking fees for diesel vehicles.

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