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Hackney’s ninth ‘school street’ launches at William Patten - but parents complain it doesn’t include the ‘main source of pollution’

PUBLISHED: 10:45 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:48 22 January 2020

(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Liana Wood (School Travel Champion), Paige and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Liana Wood (School Travel Champion), Paige and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

Gary Manhine

Hackney Council’s ninth school street scheme has launched outside William Patten Primary School – but some parents have complained it won’t do enough to combat air pollution there.

(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Bowie, Katrina, Hope and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten Primary School. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Bowie, Katrina, Hope and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten Primary School. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

Dead-end Lancell Street alongside the school and parts of Dumont Road and Dynevor Road behind the school, whose main gates are in Stoke Newington Church Street, are now closed to motor traffic at school opening and closing times.

The council claims the move will improve air quality and make it easier for kids to walk and cycle to school.

It is part of a grand plan to reach 17 primary schools by 2021 and soon after every school in the borough, and a review of Hackney's first five school streets showed traffic and vehicle emissions outside school gates have decreased.

But William Patten is the centre of a two-year battle over air quality, sparked by parents who fear proposed road closures further south would worsen emissions in Church Street outside the school.

(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Bowie, Katrina, Hope and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten Primary School. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine(From L to R) Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Bowie, Katrina, Hope and Cllr Gilbert Smyth at the launch of a school street at William Patten Primary School. Picture: Hackney Council/ Gary Manhine

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The Clean Air 4 Schools campaign group said: "Only four per cent of pupils travel to school by car, and this school street scheme could mean approximately 40 fewer vehicles on the back roads, but there will still be over 11,000 vehicles driving down Church Street, which is the main source of pollution at the school.

"We welcome any scheme that makes walking and cycling to school safer for pupils, and the group supported the consultation, but sadly the school street here will have no meaningful impact on air quality."

"It's also important to bear in mind that the council is proposing the Walford Road scheme which would divert an extra 1,670 vehicles a day past this school."

A third consultation was launched in September on hugely divisive plans to shut Brighton Road, Walford Road and Nevill Road to rat-run traffic, which were first unveiled in 2017.

The council says this would clean up toxic air and reduce the dangerous driving that blights the residential streets around cycle superhighway 1 (CS1) in Stoke Newington.

In June the council secured £500,000 from the Mayor of London's air quality fund to promote walking and cycling and to restrict the worst polluting traffic in Church Street.

To comment on the consultation or sign up to a workshop on January 30 see stokey.commonplace.is/.


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