Parents could soon be banned from idling outside schools in West Berkshire in a bid to protect children from air pollution.
Speed limits around schools could also be reduced, and some roads near schools made one-way.
These plans could get the go-ahead next week, if councillors at West Berkshire Council approve a motion put forward by Councillor Erik Pattenden (Lib Dem, Greenham), the opposition lead for education.
In that motion, Cllr Pattenden said: “Our residents, staff and children are exposed to unnecessary levels of pollutants outside of schools, at peak times in the morning and afternoon.”
He said studies show that long-term exposure to pollutants increases symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children, as well as stunting lung growth. He added: “Air pollution poses a serious threat to the health and development of young people.”
New government guidance recommends there should be no vehicle idling outside schools, hospitals and care homes; where there are plenty of “health-vulnerable” people and high exposure to air pollution from road traffic.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 20mph zones are effective in preventing injuries on the road. Also, The chance of dying after being hit from a car reduces from eight per cent at 30mph to 1.5 per cent at 20mph.
Some of the 80 schools across West Berkshire are in 40mph zones, Cllr Pattenden said.
If the motion gets the support of a majority of councillors at a meeting of the full council on March 3, no-vehicle-idling zones could be enforced around all primary schools in the district by the end of next year, with at least four pilots by this spring.
The motion also suggests:
- Reviewing speed limits outside each school
- Making some roads near schools one-way
- Painting red road markings around some schools to prevent dangerous parking
- Encouraging local businesses to sponsor green walls on school buildings and tree planting near schools.
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