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Thousands of children across Tower Hamlets enjoying safer, greener streets around their schools

School Street, John Scurr School -8 for web

Tower Hamlets Council is on track to meet its target of 50 School Streets this year with the final phase of consultations underway. 

Across the borough, thousands of pupils are enjoying the areas around their schools due to the installation of School Streets, which help encourage physical activity, make journeys to and from school safer, reduce pollution and improve air quality.  

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, visited two schools, John Scurr Primary School in Stepney Green and St. Luke’s Primary School on the Isle of Dogs, to speak to children and staff about the impact of School Streets at their schools.  

These two schools are part of the 20 School Streets that are in place, with another 30 School Streets to come before spring 2022, which will include most primary schools in the borough. 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: 

“Children in Tower Hamlets have up to 10% less lung capacity than the national average as a result of air pollution. Poor air quality around our schools is a major problem that we are addressing, alongside making our borough cleaner and greener with the introduction of more cycle lanes, planting trees in our streets and parks, and installing more electric vehicle chargers. 

“School Streets are an important part of responding to the climate emergency by cleaning up the air around our schools, while ensuring the streets around schools are safe for children.” 

Cristina King, headteacher of St Luke’s Primary School, said:  

"The School Street project has made a significant impact on the environment around our school. We have seen an increase in the number of children cycling or scooting to school, and parents have responded overwhelmingly positively to the project. The pedestrianisation of Glenworth Avenue has made a real difference to the safety of children walking to school, coupled with the additional Zebra Crossing by the school." 

School Streets are individually designed for each school, but can include timed closures to traffic at pick-up and drop-off times, as well as wider pavements and crossings, bike and scooter storage, tree planting and gardens, and green walls around the schools to filter air and create more attractive spaces. 

Residents can give their views about School Streets proposals at 18 primary schools online at talk.towerhamlets.gov.uk/schoolstreets. The consultations close at midnight on Sunday 23 January 2022. 

A further 12 School Streets are currently being installed, or with work due to commence shortly, to bring the total up to 50 by the end of this year.  

Cllr Kahar Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Highways and Public Realm, said: 

“Streets around schools should always be safe for children. Our work to improve the look and feel of the streets around schools is focused on ensuring that children, staff, and parents are able to easily and safely get to and from school. School Streets also aim to encourage activity, making it safer for children to walk, wheel, and cycle to school. 

“All School Streets designs also include greenery, which beautify our schools and help to improve air quality. This creates cleaner and safer public spaces for all of us to enjoy.”  

Posted on Thursday 13th January 2022