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Liverpool City Council to promote walking and cycling for “cleaner school run”

Liverpool city council is working alongside schools to encourage more walking and cycling on the school run come September.

The council has written to every school in the city offering road safety measures to help maintain improved air quality created by the Covid-19 lockdown.

A pilot project has already been implemented around eight primary schools to promote walking and cycling in a bid to create a cleaner, healthier and quieter school run before this term ends.

And with air pollution levels down by a third as a result of the lockdown, the council is aiming to lock in more eco-friendly travel habits and rotuines when all schools return with full classrooms in September.

The current pilot project includes temporary one way measures outside All Saints Primary School and Pinehurst Primary School in Anfield and temporary closures outside St Michaels in the Hamlet Primary School in Aigburth. Footways have also been widened around Mab Lane Primary School in West Derby and Longmoor Primary School in Fazakerley.

The city council is also supporting a road safety trial project with walking and cycling charity – Sustrans. This project will see road closures in West Derby around St Paul and St Timothy’s and St Paul’s on Wednesday, 15 July and around St Mary’s CE Primary school on Thursday, 16 July. These closures will be in place from 8.20am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 3.45pm.

These trials will be analysed with a view to a wider roll out in September when schools return after the summer holidays. It is anticipated that more than half of the city’s new 65 mile pop-up cycle lane network will also have been implemented by then.

The overall scheme is a unique collaboration between four cabinet members at the city council who began devising a schools active travel plan after the local authority voted to declare a Climate Change emergency last July – and as part of a wider strategy to tackle high youth asthma rates in the city.

Since then, the four councillors have pulled together an alliance of external partners such as Sustrans and Living Streets to work with the city region’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner Simon O’Brien, council officers in highways and education and schools to encourage a greater take up in walking and cycling to and from school.

The four are Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet member for Highways, Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Cabinet member for Environment and Sustainability, Councillor Barbra Murray, Cabinet member for Education and Councillor Pam Thomas, Cabinet member for Inclusive and Accessible City.

Liverpool’s cycling and walking commissioner has also written an open letter to parents and guardians urging them to continue walking and cycling with their children.

Award-winning TV presenter Simon O’Brien penned the plea in a bid to maintain the improved air quality and quieter roads witnessed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Simon’s letter, which can be viewed online, was circulated via every school encouraging parents and guardians to ditch the car on the school run. In it he says: “One of the few positives that came from lockdown was the quiet streets on our doorsteps. We took to walking and cycling for our daily exercise or just to escape the inside of our homes and enjoy the clean air of our suddenly peaceful neighbourhoods. Let’s keep something good going as normality thankfully returns.”

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