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School Streets scheme nominated for prestigious award

22 February 2024

A successful scheme which is encouraging active travel and keeping Peterborough school children safe has been nominated for a prestigious award. 

Peterborough City Council’s School Streets initiative has been shortlisted for a Community Involvement accolade in this year’s Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards, with winners to be announced at a special ceremony at Grosvenor House in London in June.

A School Street sees a temporary road closure set up outside the entrance of a school, enabling it to become a pedestrian-only zone during the school’s opening and closing times. This encourages active travel, reduces congestion and pollution as well as improving safety for children on their way to and from school.

The scheme has been running for three years and currently has 14 schools and nurseries taking part, with the council currently working with three schools with a view to them participating.

Councillor Gavin Elsey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Climate Change, said: “I am delighted that School Streets has been shortlisted for this prestigious award. This is testament to the hard work of our officers and participating schools, who have actively worked to turn this project into a highly effective initiative, which is making a positive difference in our communities.

“We are fully committed to promoting active travel throughout the city and this campaign has helped to support our priority of creating healthy and safe environments where people want to live, work, visit and play, enabled by effective community engagement and strong partnerships.”

After a successful bid to the government’s Emergency Active Travel Funding in 2020, the Peterborough School Streets initiative was introduced as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic to create additional space for social distancing on the journeys to and from school.

If a site is deemed to be suitable for the scheme, a temporary traffic regulation order allows the road to be closed for a certain period to coincide with school arrival and departure times. Extensive consultation is also undertaken with residents and the school community beforehand.

The relative low cost of implementing a school street versus the benefits it can bring in terms of active travel, health and the environment, make it a highly effective way of getting children into the habit of walking and cycling.

The initiative has attracted interest from campaign groups such as Mums for Lungs, other local authorities, and with schools continuing to express an interest, the council is working to evolve the project to ensure its continued success.