1 January 2021
High levels of air pollution in urban areas throughout the UK have a devastating impact on children’s health which can be severe, long term and even deadly. The UK has a legal requirement to meet air quality limits as soon as possible. Yet achieving legal compliance is insufficient to protect children’s health and we need to reduce air pollution throughout all areas as much as possible. School Streets, where traffic is restricted on roads outside schools at pick-up and drop-off times during term-times, make it safer and easier for children to walk, scoot and cycle to school. This report focuses on School Streets as a practical and achievable measure to reduce children’s exposure to toxic air pollution. School Streets also encourage active travel, which brings multiple other benefits including reducing traffic and air pollution over a wider area, reducing road danger, and increasing physical activity. Evidence shows that School Streets do not simply displace traffic but reduce it overall. We have assessed the current status and future potential for School Streets in four cities: London, Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol, and estimated the possible impact if School Streets were rolled out comprehensively in those cities.