Croydon Council has confirmed that all but one of their 10 new healthy school streets (HSS) will become permanent, banning all non-permitted vehicles entry during the busy school run hours.

From April 2022, the council imposed 10 experimental traffic orders across the borough to tackle air pollution near schools and encourage more parents and pupils to walk to school. 

The experimental orders established distinct school pedestrian zones, which forbid motorised vehicles entering between 8am and 9am and again between 2pm and 4pm on school days during the academic year. 

Exemptions were made for public service and liveried vehicles, as well as those with permits and a valid blue badge.

Anyone without a permit who drives down a school street during the designated times faces a £60 fine.

Residents, parents and schools were given a six-month consultation period, in which feedback and objections to the scheme could be given.

Respondents were required to indicate their support for the zone and its impact both less than 100m and more than 100m outside of it. 

Despite the overwhelming support shown from nine schools, Keston Primary School, in Coulsdon, was the only school to reject the introduction of a permanent HSS on Keston Avenue.

Residents and parents of children at Keston gave significant objections to the scheme due to the excess displaced traffic it caused to the nearby area. The school itself lodged a significant complaint about the scheme.

Despite 100 per cent support from Keston respondents living inside the zone, respondents less than 100m outside of it only gave 12 per cent support.

The official report indicates this lack of approval came from residents on the nearby Court Avenue, where, according to residents: ‘“we have seen recorded traffic volumes increase in the AM Peak period.”

Keston’s current experimental traffic order will be withdrawn October 21, while all other HSS will remain permanent from today onward.

Similar schemes have been rolled out across the country after a push from the central government to reduce congestion and traffic related injuries near schools.

Croydon itself already had 14 permanent HSS active in the borough prior to this consultation.

This new wave of HSS was of particular importance to both the council, considering the borough’s statistics around the prevalence of air pollution in Croydon.

According to the Director of Public Health’s annual report 2017, ‘Croydon has the highest rate of hospital admissions for childhood (0-9 years) asthma and the third-highest number of asthma deaths in London.’  

It also noted: “205 premature deaths in Croydon are linked to air pollution, and that there are further health concerns associated with 40 per cent of children and 60 per cent of adults in Croydon being overweight.”

At the full cabinet meeting, Mayor Jason Perry approved the recommendation to make nine of the HSS’s permanent.

Speaking to the cabinet, he said: “There was a definite reduction in traffic related issues to all streets but those in Keston.”

This scheme forms part of Perry’s wider Business Plan to boost Croydon’s post covid recovery and reduce congestion in the borough. It also meets the objectives set out in the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy. 

The list of schools due to see their HSS made permanent includes Ecclestone Primary School, St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary School, Harris Primary Academy Haling Park, Harris Primary Academy Croydon, Downsview Primary School, Christ Church CofE Primary School, Oasis Academy Ryelands, Ridgeway Primary School and St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School.