View from the street: Discovering a greener world

David Harrison has seen successful School Streets.

David Harrison has seen successful School Streets. - Credit: Archant

This week I saw a new world.

By Danbury Street in St Peter’s Ward, children were happily spilling out of school into safe roads. Elsewhere, youngsters profit from School Streets which are closed to motor traffic at the beginning and end of the day.

An Islington primary school parent said this had “transformed the arrival and departure from school”. Many families are choosing to switch from driving to walking or cycling. Numerous School Streets will become part of People Friendly Street schemes, providing benefits all day.

To say ‘new’ is not strictly true. Old photos of residential Islington show roads as quiet as People Friendly Streets. But the world changed for the worse.

The UK’s failure to address the domination of motor traffic has resulted in one of the worst child pedestrian death rates in Western Europe.

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Air pollution harms everyone, and children’s lungs are especially vulnerable. My daughter’s severe asthma miraculously disappeared during lockdown. She desperately needs low pollution routes.

Obesity is associated with cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, poor lung function and bone problems. Over one in three children aged 10-11 in Islington were classed as overweight in 2018. Half of obese children become obese adults. The council’s schemes enable children to live happier, more active lives.

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