School Streets pilot to go ahead as council granted enforcement powers
An 18-month School Streets pilot at six Shropshire schools is set to begin in February next year, after the Government’s minister for roads and local transport signed the Order that will enable enforcement of the scheme.
The Order gives Shropshire Council the power to enforce a range of ‘moving traffic’ offences from 22 July 2023 – and enforcement of the School Streets programme using ANPR cameras will be the first use of these powers.
School Streets are streets outside of school gates that have temporary restrictions on motorised traffic (except for permit holders) during school drop-off and pick-up times.
Under the new ‘moving traffic offences’ legislation Shropshire Council will be able to enforce School Streets using ANPR cameras.
Six schools will take part in the trial, namely:
- Gobowen Primary School
- Market Drayton Junior School
- Woodside Primary School, Oswestry
- Mereside Primary School, Shrewsbury
- Whitchurch Junior School
- Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth
The new powers mean that ANPR cameras can also be used to enforce the School Street already in place at Coleham Primary in Shrewsbury – implemented using coronavirus powers.
For the first six months of the pilot a grace period will be in place for first-time offenders.
In a letter to Lezley Picton, leader of the council, Richard Holden MP, minister for roads and local transport, said:
“The Order designates Shropshire Council as a civil enforcement area for moving traffic contravention. I am delighted to see Shropshire Council receiving these powers.”
Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said:
“This is excellent news and means Shropshire Council is on track to be the first rural council with a School Streets programme and the power to enforce moving traffic offences. This is not a move against motorists, but it is important that we make the roads safe for all users, especially around schools.”
Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:
“This news is very welcome and means that we can shortly begin our School Streets trial at six schools – and enforce the Coleham scheme – then look to roll the programme out to other schools.
“As School Streets restrict traffic outside schools at pick-up and drop-off times, these powers will help us make it safer and easier for children to walk, scoot and cycle to school.”
The School Streets scheme will be 100% funded through DfT grant funding and is estimated to cost approximately £31,000 for schools with one camera and £62,000 for schools with two cameras.
Any surplus arising from enforcement of School Streets will be reinvested back into the School Streets project to enable the continued rollout across the county.
Where traffic is restricted on roads outside schools at pick-up and drop-off times during term-times, School Streets make it safer and easier for children to walk, scoot and cycle to school. This reduces children’s exposure to air pollution on part of their journey to school and from cars with idling engines outside the school gates.
For more information about School Streets, click here.
1. From 31 May 2022, local authorities in England outside of London were able to apply to the Secretary of State for new powers to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’.
2. Under the moving traffic powers, councils will – for the first time – be able to issue fines to drivers for offences including: incorrectly driving into a bus lane; stopping in a yellow box junction; banned right or left turns; illegal U-turns; and going the wrong way in a one-way street. These powers have previously been held only by the police.
3. Unlike funds raised from speed camera fines, which are transferred to central Government, surplus funds from moving traffic enforcement will be kept by the local authority. The General Provisions SI specifies that any such surplus must be used only for certain purposes:
- to recoup costs of enforcement;
- pay for public transport provision;
- pay for highway improvement projects; or
- pay for environmental improvements in the authority’s area.
4. School Streets exemptions. Motor vehicles belonging to the following groups of drivers are eligible for an exemption permit, to enable them to drive in a School Street during the hours of operation:
- Blue Badge holders.
- Schools buses and vehicles used in the transport of children and adults with special access needs, including private vehicles, taxies and minicabs declared for such use and registered with the school or with the council.