Cranbrook's school run snarl-ups recognised as part of a county-wide traffic problem
PUBLISHED: 11:07 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 08 February 2019
But Cranbrook's county councillor accepts that 'getting people to stop driving to school is like drawing teeth'
A Devon-wide clampdown on school run snarl-ups is in the works – with parents in Cranbrook set to be part of the targeted audience.
The issue of short car journeys to nearby schools – which has often been highlighted by Cranbrook’s county councillor – is being recognised as a Devon-wide problem, and blamed for poor air quality and traffic congestion around school gates.
The school run snarl-ups around Cranbrook Education Campus have been raised several times by Cllr Ray Bloxham, who is also concerned about the road safety implications.
Now a task group, set up by Devon County Council to look at air pollution and road congestion, has recommended that the local authority undertakes a campaign to reduce short journeys to school and cut vehicle emissions in the area near school entrances.
Cllr Bloxham has welcomed the county council’s recognition of the problem, but said changing people’s behaviour on the ground is very difficult.
On Tuesday, January 29 he told the council’s Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Committee, “Getting people to stop driving to schools is like drawing teeth. It is very difficult and we need more solutions to get over that hurdle. I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall trying to tackle with schools in Cranbrook.”
He suggested that school-run parents could instead be encouraged to drop their children off further away.
“Those parents who collect in their vehicles in numbers outside the school entrance are exposing the children to very poor air quality which is caused by idling vehicle engines,” he said. “This is a real concern and one that everyone needs to take seriously.
“The plea is to park a short distance away from the school gate and walk the final yards. This would allow those who really need to park adjacent to the school to do so, and would also remove the concern about air pollution immediately outside the school gates.”
This could also improve road safety near Cranbrook Education Campus, which is a long-standing concern of the town council. Cllr Bloxham is working with the county council to create a safe walking route from the country park to the back gate of the school, and to get the area outside the front gates redesigned to encourage safer vehicle movements.