Parents Could Be Fined £50 For Driving Their Kids To School Under New Scheme
The school run could soon be a thing of the past as headteachers across the country have begun banning cars from parking near their front gates.
The bold step was the brainchild of Steve Marsland, head of Russell Scott Primary, in Denton, Greater Manchester, who came up with the idea after becoming concerned with an increase in asthma among his pupils.
Last year air nearby was found to be above legal limits of poisonous nitrogen dioxide and even he had to start using an inhaler.
Hundreds of schools have since followed suit, introducing fines and fixed penalty notices - with the threat of points to their licence - if they persist with parking close to the gates.
West Midlands Police has introduced £50 fines for parents who park near schools and following an 18-month trial a school in Hackney has brought the ban in permanently.
Experts have also shared their concerns.
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Alison Cook from the British Lung Foundation said the levels of pollution at some schools are 'worrying'.
She said: "Toxic air is linked to asthma and chronic chest problems, and damage to the lungs in early age is irreversible.
"That's why illegal levels of pollution around schools is hugely worrying."
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah's daughter Ella was just nine years old when she tragically died after suffering from an asthma attack, which the mum believes was caused by dangerous levels of air pollution near Ella's school in Lewisham, South East London.
Ms Adoo-Kissi-Debrah has called for a total ban on school runs to put an end to unnecessary deaths and 'stop Ella from dying in vain'.
She said: "The UK has the highest rates for asthma deaths in Europe. Pollution levels can soar by as much as 50 per cent by cars left running, commonly occurring at school gates across the country.
"I can't stress enough how damaging this is to our children's health. The only way we can really make a difference is for uniform rules across the country."
Despite health concerns, however, some parents have said they would struggle to get their children to school without a car because of poor transport links.
But transport charity Sustrans - which is helping roll out the schemes - has assured mums and dads that they 'will significantly help reduce children's exposure to pollution while creating a safer environment for pupils, parents and teachers'.
Featured Image Credit: PA