School safety improvements begin


North Somerset Council is set to introduce improvements outside several schools this autumn in a bid to encourage safer travel on foot or by wheel.

The improvements, which are funded by the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund, will be introduced at Milton Park Primary and Windwhistle Primary in Weston, Crockerne Primary in Pill, West Leigh Infants School in Backwell, Gordano School (Greenfield Park entrance) and St Peter’s C of E Primary in Portishead.

The changes to create "school streets" involves the introduction of temporary restrictions on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times. The restrictions apply to school traffic and through traffic.

Access is maintained for residents and for other requirements, such as to drop off children who have mobility difficulties and cannot walk far.

Cllr Hannah Young, North Somerset Council's Executive Member with responsibility for active travel said: “School street schemes are an excellent way to improve the safety of roads outside schools and help calm a hectic environment at drop off and pick up times.

"Although access for residents is maintained, we would encourage people to re-time their journeys to make the school street as quiet as possible.”

“School streets can reduce the number of people driving their children to school by up to a third and reduce the risk of casualties by limiting the chance of accidents.

“School street schemes also offer a way for school communities to tackle air pollution, poor health and danger on the road. A school street helps encourage a healthier lifestyle, active travel to school for families and leads to a better environment for everyone.”

In 2020 the Department for Transport mandated all local authorities to implement measures to enable people to distance safely during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of these temporary measures are now being replaced with permanent schemes.

North Somerset Council is working with schools across the area to complete Travel Plans with the hope of securing further funding for future school streets where schools and communities are in favour.

Work is now under way at Milton Park School in Weston and this is being delivered alongside a new zebra crossing on Milton Road to provide a safe place to cross for children accessing the school street.

Crockerne school street has also been constructed during October with the remainder of the other schemes being delivered this financial year.