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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 July, 2003, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Parents' outcry over school run purge
parents and children
The council wants to see more "walking buses"
A London council is targeting parents using cars on the school run - but parents say their rights are being ignored.

Camden Council wants a drastic cut in the number of people using cars to take their children to school.

It is going to restrict parking around schools gradually over the next six years.

But parents are angry and say they have as much right to drive as anyone else.

From next year every head teacher in Camden will have to survey the drop-off and pick-up habits of their parents and then decide which 20% of them the following year will lose their right to park around the school.

So if the scheme was fully implemented, after six years, no one would be allowed to park on the school run.


Camden's situation is unusual because most areas are covered by resident-only parking schemes.

Under the present guidelines, parents are exempted from the parking restrictions near schools for 10 minutes while they drop-off or pick-up, but the idea is gradually to remove this benefit.

Councillor Mike Green said the school run created a lot of problems for residents, especially as there were 29 schools in a one-mile area.

"3,000 cars come each morning and 3,000 come to pick up the children in the afternoon.

"This plan one of a number of carrots and sticks being used."

Camden parent Meraid Bergin is angry: "I'm just driving my kids to school. I have got the same rights to drive as any other driver.

"I pay taxes for the roads like everyone else."

Walking buses

Camden Council says it does not want to punish parents, but there will be an expectation that those who live within one mile of their school will not drive and should not have a parking permit.

It says the changes will mainly be targeted at new parents rather than existing ones.

The council wants to encourage parents to walk their children to school, which they say would be better for children and the environment.

Schools are being encouraged to draw up a travel plan, which could suggest alternative means of transport to parents, such as "walking buses" or sharing school runs between parents.

The school will be expected to determine who should have parking permits.

Your comments:

Get 'em walking before their legs drop off!
Denise, England
The first time ever I've felt strongly enough to join in one of these comment boards - the number of parents driving their kids to school is totally ridiculous. Most of those I see getting dropped off and picked up twice a day live very close to the school, certainly within walking distance. Then we read about the declining health and growing obesity of the nation's children. Get 'em walking before their legs drop off!
Denise, England

I see no reason why schools and parents cannot use their intelligence and work together to form a car pool scheme that would effectively reduce the traffic flow.
Chloe B, UK

Walk to school in Camden? Obviously the 'local' councillors haven't visited their 'locality' very recently. Camden is as one of the most violent, crack ridden holes in the UK. Maybe the council would like pay for armed escorts to school and make it even more like BogotŠ? This is no place to be an unarmed pedestrian. Drive your kids to school.
PB, Camden, UK

They have better road sense and are fitter for it
Gill, England
I have 5 children age 9 to 19. They have always walked to school, with me pushing the younger ones in a buggy if need be. We have a car but as the school was just over a mile away it was close enough to walk. They have better road sense and are fitter for it. The only time I used the car was when my eldest had a bad leg and we were unable to walk. And they never moaned about it once. They still walk everywhere. Good habits last.
Gill, England

Isn't it time we adopted the US system of school buses? These vehicles are given priority on the roads and are a safe way of transporting children to school. Even if every family had to pay £2 a day for the service surely this would be more cost effective than lots of very short car trips?
Jane, England

I went to school over 3 miles from home, but caught a bus and walked. It drives me mad trying to get to work in the morning, and dodge parents in their 4x4's parking on double yellow lines dropping their children at school. No wonder levels of obesity in Britain are rising as quickly as they are, children can't walk anywhere these days!
Nancy Clarke, England

Who is really concerned about the amount of traffic on the school run? Probably businessmen who drive to work - have their congestion charge paid by the company, park in their company parking space and leave the car there ALL day before driving home again! Why doesn't the council try to get them off the road?
Kevin, England

About time this was stopped
Phill S, UK
Good, about time this was stopped. Without the school run, the traffic situation is a lot better. I can't wait for the holidays when there will be no traffic when I go to work.
Phill S, UK

Have we all become so selfish that it is all about me and mine? What about the poor people who live in the area where you are driving your large, and no doubt fuel-inefficient vehicles? If there are no safe walking routes to the school lobby your local council to give you them.
Mark Cox, UK

Walking one mile to school is nothing and will do parent and child good. In my day most children from five upwards used to walk themselves to school - often much further than one mile.
Frank Church, UK

Any parent who like me is working and has to get 1 child to school, the other to nursery 1 and a half miles away AND get to work by 9.15am is going to find a scheme like this impossible. But the councillors never worry about little things like that do they?
Jennie Martin, GB

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08 Aug 01 |  Education

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