School Streets: Proposal to close roads around Yerbury Primary School ‘could harm elderly in sheltered housing’

Islington Council, led by Cllr Claudia Webbe, marks the first 'clean air day' in Archway. Picture: S

Islington Council, led by Cllr Claudia Webbe, marks the first 'clean air day' in Archway. Picture: Steve Bainbridge - Credit: Archant

Elderly and vulnerable people could be exposed to excess pollution if the council limits traffic outside an Upper Holloway school, claims a neighbour.

Islington Council is consulting on plans to close school roads to through-traffic at pick-up and drop-off times, as it battles to improve air quality for children.

The plans could turn Tytherton Road, Yerbury Road and the north end of Foxham Road into a School Street Scheme, closed to cars from 8.45am to 9.30am and 3.15pm to 4pm, when there are “spikes in pollution”.

Islington’s transport chief Cllr Claudia Webbe says many of the borough’s schools are in or near high pollution areas, but Dr Zareer Masani, 61, of Tytherton Road, believes this proposal is flawed.

He says it could have a knock-on health impacts for elderly neighbours in sheltered housing at Clarion-run Circle 33, in nearby Foxham Road.

He said: “They need to think about the knock on effect, if the air quality changes from the exclusion area it’s going to shift pollution to the area where parents are allowed to drop their kids off.

“Parents will drop [their] kids off on Foxham Road, where I live, and outside the sheltered housing.

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“May I suggest that the lungs of the elderly, many of whom like me suffer from lung disease, are as important as those of school kids?

“Piecemeal attempts targeting the immediate school vicinity will do little to alter parent behaviour or pollution levels and, to the extent they work, will simply pass the pollution on to other vulnerable residents.”

The consultation was originally due to end on Sunday but has now been extended for an extra week.

The council didn’t leaflet Circle 33 initially to tell people about the consultation. But the extended time-frame means that’s now happening.

A Clarion spokesperson said: “We welcome the opportunity for our residents to be consulted.”

But Cllr Webbe said: “Our proposals include exemptions for Blue Badge holders, and residents and businesses who have a parking permit on a school street would also be able to register for an exemption.

“All feedback [on the Yerbury Road consultation] is important and will be carefully considered before we make a decision.”

The Green Party transport boss, Cllr Caroline Russell, added: “School streets are a simple way to open streets for people on foot and on bike,

“It’s just a short period at the beginning and end of the day to make a social space outside school and to deter car use for pick-up.”