A national newspaper is calling for a temporary traffic ban outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times.
On 9 May, the Times launched its ‘Clean Air For All’ campaign – on the back of an investigation revealing millions of British children attend schools where there are dangerous levels of air pollution.
The Times investigation shows approximately 6,500 schools with around 2.6m pupils are located in areas where fine particles in the air exceed the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit of 10mcg per cubic metre.
As part of the campaign, The Times is urging authorities to ban all vehicles, except buses, from roads beside schools for 45-60 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon.
As well as improving air quality, The Times says the move would encourage more children to walk to school, and reduce the number of collisions.
The walking charity Living Streets is supporting the call for a ban, saying that by walking to school, families become part of the solution to the air pollution problem.
Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “A quarter of cars on our roads at peak times are on the school run.
“Closing school streets to traffic and encouraging families to walk to school would have an incredibly positive impact on the air our children breathe.”
The campaign manifesto also calls on the Government to bring forward the ban on sales of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040 to 2030 – and to reverse the cut to the plug-in car grant scheme.
The changes, announced in October 2018, mean the grant for Category 1 vehicles – broadly those that are pure battery electric – has been reduced from £4,500 to £3,500.
In addition, Category 2 and 3 vehicles – mainly plug-in hybrids – are no longer eligible for a grant.
John Witherow, editor of The Times, said: “The Times has a proud history of campaigning journalism. We are not just reporting on change, we are providing solutions and fighting to make a difference.
“Cleaning Britain’s air is in the highest public interest.”