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Derbyshire schools support Clean Air Day

Published: 19 June 2024

Four of our schools in Amber Valley are doing their bit to reduce air pollution and raise awareness about road safety and safe parking around their premises to coincide with Clean Air Day on Thursday (20 June 2024).

After consulting with local residents the schools have applied to have roads outside the schools closed during dropping off and picking up times. The aim of the closure is to discourage parents and carers from driving along the road right up to the school gates. This will help to improve air quality in the area by reducing carbon emissions generated by vehicles and improve road safety by cutting congestion and reducing parking levels outside the schools.

Volunteer marshalls will be on hand to help with the road closures. Schools are encouraging all who can to walk, cycle or scoot - and for those who still need to drive they have negotiated with local car park owners for parents to ‘park and stride’ from there.

The schools taking part in the trial are:

  • Riddings Infant and Nursery School
  • Riddings Junior School
  • St John's (CofE) Primary, Belper
  • William Gilbert Endowed (CofE) Primary School and Nursery, Duffield

We're backing the trial and have set up a cross-party working group to look at parking and road safety issues across our schools and try to find innovative ways to address these.

Our Executive Director of Place, Chris Henning said:

“We’re pleased to see the schools trialling this scheme and the results will be of keen interest to us in informing future policy. Residents, emergency vehicles and blue badge holders needing to access the road will still be able to. It’s just the dropping off and picking up of children immediately outside the schools that’s being discouraged on the day.”

Our interim director for schools and learning Helen Wallace said:

“These Clean Air Day closures will, I hope, encourage ways other than the car, for children to get to the school gates. Walking, cycling, scooting and “park and stride” are all possibilities and we encourage this ‘active travel’ across the county and throughout the year whether for school journeys or travel generally.

“It can improve health through physical activity and reducing carbon emissions, improve road safety, reduce congestion and improve air quality.”

In a joint statement, headteachers from each of the schools Helen Britten (William Gilbert Endowed Primary School), Rachel Farnsworth (Riddings Infants School), Dave Cates (Riddings Junior School) and Roger Averis (St John’s C of E School, Belper) said:

“We face numerous issues with congestion and inconsiderate parking on the road around school especially at the start and the end of the day. We have seen the positive impact that the School Streets initiative has had in other parts of the country at improving road safety and encouraging active travel to school – so we are pleased to be involved in taking the first step towards managing the issue for the benefit of our children and our neighbours.”

Meanwhile Stanton Vale School in Long Eaton is taking things a step further. For the whole week, from 17 to 23 June 2024 they are holding an anti-idling campaign with our support and that of the NHS. They will monitor air quality outside the school and report on how idling cars affect this.

Find out more about Clean Air Day and about our sustainable travel work.