Cambridgeshire pilot for 'car-free zone' around school

Cambridge pollution Image copyright PA/Chris Radburn
Image caption Schools are to be invited to help draw up an action plan for a no-car zone around one of them

A car-free zone is to be established around a school to measure the impact of pollution on children.

Cambridgeshire County Council has approved a plan by public health committee chairman Peter Hudson to try to tackle poor air quality.

Schools and other groups in Cambridge will be invited to join a working party to draw up a pollution action plan.

"I want the group to ask the right questions to get the right solutions right now," said Mr Hudson.

"We cannot deal with everything, everywhere, all at once but it is important to understand what we can do rapidly to protect our vulnerable children from air pollution."

The Conservative councillor recognised work was under way to tackle poor air quality around schools, such as promoting walking, cycling or "park and stride" where if children are driven to school, their parents park some distance away and walk the last bit.

He now wants to develop a pilot for a "no car zone" around a Cambridge school to measure any positive impact.

Urgent need

Mr Hudson said the action plan would be drawn up "within a reasonable time frame" before being submitted to the health committee.

"Air pollution affects everyone, but children are our highest priority," the councillor said.

Liberal Democrat councillor Lorna Dupre tabled an amendment to widen the scheme to reflect the findings of a conference last year that investigated how pollution affected the whole population, but this was voted down.

She was disappointed that the issues and findings were not mentioned by Mr Hudson's proposal.

Labour councillor Nick Cavanagh said that as a cyclist he understood the urgent need to tackle the problem and would support the motion.

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