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Scheme could solve car parking chaos at school gates, says UTU

The UTU says a ban on parking outside primary schools should be considered

A BAN on parking outside primary schools should be considered to eliminate traffic "chaos", a leading union has urged.

The Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU) said the north could learn lessons from Scotland where a successful pilot scheme has been operating.

An evaluation of the School Streets scheme in Edinburgh showed lower vehicle speeds on surrounding roads and a reduction in the number of cars around schools.

It also led to an increase in the number of pupils walking to school.

UTU general secretary Avril Hall Callaghan said a similar initiative should be considered in the north.

"Anyone who has ever collected children from school or tried to drive past a school when children are getting out will know the traffic chaos as parents often try to park as close to the gates as possible, regardless of whether or not it is safe to do so and often using dangerous manoeuvres," she said.

"I know it is a losing battle for many principals as they try to encourage those collecting children to park further away and walk to meet the pupils.

"By parking too close to the gates drivers impair sight lines for children trying to cross the road and often impede traffic flow for other road users which can lead to frayed tempers and dangerous driving."

The whole aim of the Scottish pilot, she added, was to create a safer, more relaxed atmosphere around schools.

"That has been borne out as the evaluation of the School Streets scheme showed lower vehicle speeds on surrounding roads and a reduction in the number of cars around schools," Ms Hall Callaghan said.

"This is an outcome you can't really argue with and one which could only improve the situation for local schools too if such a scheme were rolled out."

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