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Ban cars on roads near schools says mayor of London

Sadiq Khan criticises the government for ignoring "unarguable evidence" and says we should be protecting our children from air pollution...

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for schools to be car-free zones while criticising the government's response to air pollution.

Khan's call come off the back of his criticisms of Phillip Hammond's inaugural Budget, specifically the Chancellor's failure to raise taxes for the most polluting vehicles on our roads.

Fresh in the mind of the mayor, too, was a report into the effects of air pollution which he commissioned and was published in February.  

The report found that 802 London school children routinely breathe in toxic air, increasing their chance of developing respiratory conditions like asthma. The report also found that around 9,000 early deaths per year were linked to air pollution.

Speaking to the Times, London's mayor spoke of his anger and confusion at why the government, schools and councils cannot work together to solve this problem.

"The reason why I'm so angry about this and it's a priority for me is that the science and the evidence is unarguable and yet it appears the government is ignoring it," Khan said.

"Why can’t we work with schools and councils to have some roads outside schools where cars aren’t allowed to go? 

"Really encourage mums, dads, carers and children to walk to school. It will be safer and you are not breathing in toxic air when playing in the playground.”

The move, of course, wouldn't only encourage families to walk to school, but would include a much greater push for parents to take their children to school by bicycle.

Still in his first year as Mayor of London, Khan has spoken on several occasions of his support for cycling in the city.

>Read more: Sadiq Khan pledges to triple London cycling infrastructure

Clearly aware of the dangers posed by air pollution, Khan expressed how seriously he is taking this matter.

"You can’t play politics with people’s lives and people’s health," Mr Khan said. “Every day action is delayed it means another young person breathing in this toxic air, an older person having breathing problems because of the poor quality of the air and literally people die."

Khan did not, however, continue his rhetoric to match many of his European counterparts in cities like Paris, Madrid, and Oslo who are pushing for a total ban on diesel cars.

In defence of his lack of support for such a move, Khan claimed that there is "no roadmap for how they get from here to banning diesel."

To put into perspective just how serious this situation is, London broke it's annual pollution limit for 2017, imposed by the European Union, in just 5 days.

>Read more: London breaks annual pollution limit in just 5 days

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15 comments

Avatar
I love my bike | 6 years ago
0 likes
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flathunt | 6 years ago
2 likes

100 / 1 - Cars banned near Schools

4 / 5 - Schools banned near cars

 

Any takers?

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multimodal | 6 years ago
2 likes

As I understand it, the Mayor has no power over local roads, they're the responsibility of councils. This is just him making noise.

It would be nice if fewer politicians talked about bans (which are often never going to happen) and spent the time coming up with practical ways of normalising walking, cycling, taking public transport (providing decent public transport in most of the country would be a start), etc.

Avatar
SingleSpeed | 6 years ago
10 likes

Unfortuantely you challenge a particular mindset which I still cannot fathom.

BMW Tractor driver three doors down leaves for school the same time as us in all weather in said BMW.
We arrive most days within a few minutes of each other, generally we are there quicker.
Drop children off.
I invariably arrive back at home before them.

 

Despite the fact it is quite clearly quicker to walk to school these dullards still insist on driving there and back daily...it's like it just doesn't seem to register in their mind that you walk places.

Avatar
davel replied to SingleSpeed | 6 years ago
5 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:

Unfortuantely you challenge a particular mindset which I still cannot fathom.

BMW Tractor driver three doors down leaves for school the same time as us in all weather in said BMW.
We arrive most days within a few minutes of each other, generally we are there quicker.
Drop children off.
I invariably arrive back at home before them.

 

Despite the fact it is quite clearly quicker to walk to school these dullards still insist on driving there and back daily...it's like it just doesn't seem to register in their mind that you walk places.

Exactly... which is why a carrot and stick approach is needed.

We already have the carrot of excellent public transport , separate infrastructure, and crossings that prioritise cyclists and pedestrians...

OK, we have zero carrot whatsoever, but even if we did you'd get the moton fatties that can't see beyond the end of their drive.

And therein lies the need for a stick; the Mr Motivator cattle-prod of getting off your fat arse and demonstrating to your kids that your cardiovascular system can do a lot more than just get furred up with pizza. Dropping kids at school in cars is one of those things that should be miserably inconvenient, if not impossible, in all but the most extreme cases.

Avatar
ClubSmed replied to davel | 6 years ago
4 likes
davel wrote:
SingleSpeed wrote:

Unfortuantely you challenge a particular mindset which I still cannot fathom.

BMW Tractor driver three doors down leaves for school the same time as us in all weather in said BMW.
We arrive most days within a few minutes of each other, generally we are there quicker.
Drop children off.
I invariably arrive back at home before them.

 

Despite the fact it is quite clearly quicker to walk to school these dullards still insist on driving there and back daily...it's like it just doesn't seem to register in their mind that you walk places.

Exactly... which is why a carrot and stick approach is needed.

We already have the carrot of excellent public transport , separate infrastructure, and crossings that prioritise cyclists and pedestrians...

OK, we have zero carrot whatsoever, but even if we did you'd get the moton fatties that can't see beyond the end of their drive.

And therein lies the need for a stick; the Mr Motivator cattle-prod of getting off your fat arse and demonstrating to your kids that your cardiovascular system can do a lot more than just get furred up with pizza. Dropping kids at school in cars is one of those things that should be miserably inconvenient, if not impossible, in all but the most extreme cases.

Couldn't agree more!

Some people will just go out of their way to be lazy.
My wife has always driven our daugter to school even though it is further, takes longer, costs more and is more inconvienient. She can obviously see this because I take our daughter to school 50% of the time and that is always by bike and always faster than our neighbours who set off at the same time by car (they have an excuse though as the school is on his way to work and he needs his car for work). My wife is a woman who fights, to the point where she has gone on organised protests, for many environmental causes so it should be an easy sell with a carrot. Unfortunately though she is just too lazy so without the introduction of a stick and I think that is unfortunately going to be the case for most people.

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to davel | 6 years ago
4 likes
davel wrote:

Dropping kids at school in cars is one of those things that should be miserably inconvenient, if not impossible, in all but the most extreme cases.

in the near future you'll be able to order an Amazon drone to come and pick up your kid and drop him or her off in the school playground, if they still have them. I call that progress. Back in my day we had to wait for eagles to fly past and take the child, and it never really seemed to end well. 

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HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
5 likes

All we've had from Sadiq Khan so far is waffle. You're Mayor, get on with it.

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emishi55 | 6 years ago
5 likes

You close the side streets and residential roads to through traffic.  Easy. Quick and extremely cheap and effective.

Worried about emergency services? You put in ambulance gates (two sets of opposite facing 'No Entries') - these work as bus gates as well.

During the 'Stop De Kindermoord' protests over Dutch child deaths from increasing and speeding through traffic in the 70s, there was some running street conflict, where people put their own barriers up - and irate drivers demanded their right to their short cuts (as I understand it). So began the best example of a grown up approach to road policy seen so far.

In the UK in 2017, with the behind the scenes death toll from lung disease, obesity, heart disease and all the other ailments caused by passive lifestyles - forcibly imposed upon the public by rampant, unconstrained motor car usage, how much further do things have to go before we see people putting up their own barricades to gain some respite? 

 

 

Meanwhile mayor Khan and transport deputy Shawcross are simply hellbent on pedalling backwards, scoring political points by undoing whatever they can of their predecessors' belated and somewhat incomplete yet excellent work on cycling infra.

Mini-Hollands? out with that. Cycle Superhighways? lets stick with he nice paving and pedestrian crossings, and let the parks continue their 'helpful' work (speed bumps for cyclists..! But motors...? carry right on sir!) 

 

After an overwhelming majority consultation in favour of closing Regents Park gates (for a mere few p*ssing hours a day) - even this is getting the cold flannel, with Shawcross now talking about a cycle track! Through a park! At whatever expense and delay...and conflict...and inconvenience to training cyclists...and pedestrians...and hedgehogs (serious actually)....etc.

Alternatively - the cost of someone to drive around and close the gates....?  For about 25 minutes work...?

If Shawcross and co had shown as much willingness to engage with where campaigners are at currently, rather than bending over backwards to appease Mr and Mrs pro-rat-running of NW3, we might have had some reason not to feel cheated.

 

Time then to move on and consider the alernaives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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londoncommute | 6 years ago
7 likes

I know nothing about who has what authority to do things but isn't he actually mayor now and not in opposition?  Seems that he keeps suggesting things rather than doing them.

The above sounds sensible, so get on with it.

Avatar
crazy-legs replied to londoncommute | 6 years ago
2 likes
londoncommute wrote:

The above sounds sensible, so get on with it.

Taken in isolation, it isn't sensible at all. You can't really "just" ban cars from near schools since people live near schools, they work near schools, they may have to drop their kids off at school on the way to and from their home/work and, rather importantly, roads are built near schools (and houses and hospitals and shops...)

What he can do though (and what he should have been doing since Day 1 in office) is continuing to build more segregated cycle routes and put in more bus routes that actually allow people to get to and from home/work/school/the shops WITHOUT having to use their car! Radical thought!

Although I think a Paris style ban is needed - currently you have the situation where as soon as pollution hits a high, people are told to stay indoors, not exercise etc.

What we actually need is someone who has the balls to say - right, every vehicle with an odd-numbered plate, you're not allowed in town today. Next day, even-numbered plates are banned.

(obvious exceptions for emergency vehicles, buses, delivery vehicles but NOT for bloody taxis!)

 

Avatar
londoncommute replied to crazy-legs | 6 years ago
4 likes
crazy-legs wrote:
londoncommute wrote:

The above sounds sensible, so get on with it.

Taken in isolation, it isn't sensible at all. You can't really "just" ban cars from near schools since people live near schools, they work near schools, they may have to drop their kids off at school on the way to and from their home/work and, rather importantly, roads are built near schools (and houses and hospitals and shops...)

What he can do though (and what he should have been doing since Day 1 in office) is continuing to build more segregated cycle routes and put in more bus routes that actually allow people to get to and from home/work/school/the shops WITHOUT having to use their car! Radical thought!

Although I think a Paris style ban is needed - currently you have the situation where as soon as pollution hits a high, people are told to stay indoors, not exercise etc.

What we actually need is someone who has the balls to say - right, every vehicle with an odd-numbered plate, you're not allowed in town today. Next day, even-numbered plates are banned.

(obvious exceptions for emergency vehicles, buses, delivery vehicles but NOT for bloody taxis!)

 

In London, school catchment areas are tiny so there is no excuse not to walk or ride to them.

You don't need segregated cycle routes to ride a bike.

In Paris, people have bought two cars so they can keep driving:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38236926

Avatar
Simon E replied to crazy-legs | 6 years ago
1 like
crazy-legs wrote:
londoncommute wrote:

The above sounds sensible, so get on with it.

Taken in isolation, it isn't sensible at all. You can't really "just" ban cars from near schools since people live near schools, they work near schools, they may have to drop their kids off at school on the way to and from their home/work and, rather importantly, roads are built near schools (and houses and hospitals and shops...)

YES YOU CAN.

https://twitter.com/carltonreid/status/840553458122051585

 

Avatar
dottigirl | 6 years ago
7 likes

Actions speak louder than words, and he's still not actually doing anything.

Quote:

Still in his first year as Mayor of London, Khan has spoken on several occasions of his support for cycling in the city.

Elliott - what? Provision is going backwards at a rate of knots. If he's spoken  positively about anything cycling-related, it's been half-hearted at most.

Avatar
beezus fufoon | 6 years ago
2 likes

"You can’t play politics with people’s lives and people’s health"

maybe the headline should read - mayor attempts to confuse mankind by making an infinitely paradoxical statement

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