Frequently asked questions about School Streets

User guide

What is a School Street?

A School Street reduces traffic, supporting active travel, cleaner air, and creates a safer and more pleasant start and end to the day for everyone in and around school communities. 

A School Street limits motor vehicle access at pick-up and drop-off times during term time.

A ‘no motor vehicles’ road sign tells drivers that they are not permitted. Some School Streets have additional measures to prevent through traffic and school gate traffic  such as a retractable barrier, bollard or planter, and the Council is trialling Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras at a small number of schools.

Exemptions are available for residents and businesses and blue badge holders within the School Street zone, and emergency vehicles are permitted to enter or leave the School Street. The main aim of the scheme is to prevent the School Street being used by through-traffic or by parents parking. Anyone driving in a School Street during its operating hours should reduce speed and take extra care.

A School Street is still a road. Parents are reminded to supervise their children accordingly.

Why do we want to create School Streets?

School Streets are designed to reduce the number of vehicles around the school. We believe that School Streets will:

  • Reduce congestion and vehicles travelling through the School Street
  • Reduce pollution around the school entrance with fewer engines idling
  • Encourage more walking, cycling and active journeys 
  • Result in less inconsiderate parking and dangerous manoeuvres
  • Create a calmer, safer and cleaner environment

School Streets also provide additional space to support social distance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The schemes have been introduced under an experimental traffic order to be able to monitor any impacts before considering making the schemes permanent.

When do the School Street restrictions apply?

School Streets operate at school drop off and pick up time during term time only. Please be aware that the restrictions continue to apply on inset days, half days or any other irregular days within term time. The exact hours of operation vary between schools and can be found on the individual School Street pages.

How do I request a School Street?

If your school is interested in a School Street, we would love to hear from you. Please contact schoolstreets@wandsworth.gov.uk

Each school’s situation is different, so here is a short checklist that will be useful to include when you contact us. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this information at this stage.

Does the Council consult residents and local businesses?

Some School Streets are being implemented on a trial basis using an Experimental Traffic Order to enable all aspects of the scheme to be considered, including comments from residents, local businesses and the school before a decision is made on whether to make the scheme permanent.

This does not mean consultation does not take place but rather that representations are considered during a trial period so that people may comment based on the real-life experience of the School Street.

To register views from the launch day onward, please visit our Consultations page. If the consultation has ended, you can still submit your views by emailing schoolstreets@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Who will be exempt from the School Street restrictions?

People walking, scooting, using wheelchairs, mobility scooters and cycles (including adapted cycles) are not restricted.

All other motor vehicles are restricted during the operating times displayed on the signs, subject to the exemptions below. For School Streets enforced by camera, an application for exemption must be submitted in advance.

Though we encourage everyone to support the School Street, where they are able, the following motor vehicles are allowed access:

  • Residents and businesses within the School Street zone
  • Blue badge holders (when their destination is within the School Street zone)
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Carers and healthcare workers serving properties within the School Street zone*
  • Council waste trucks serving properties within the School Street zone
  • Postal service vehicles serving post boxes within the School Street zone
  • Statutory undertakers (such as water and gas companies) attending emergency works within the School Street zone
  • School buses and school transport serving the school within the School Street zone
  • Public transport and taxis (Hackney Carriage and private hire*) serving properties within the School Street zone

How do I apply for an exemption to School Street restrictions?

Drivers only need to apply online for an exemption to School Street restrictions where the School Street is enforced by automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR cameras). Schools which have, or soon will have, ANPR cameras are Earlsfield Primary School Street, Furzedown Primary School, Hillbrook Primary School, Penwortham Primary School (both Penwortham Road and Pretoria Road) and St Anselm's Primary School. More information on how to apply for exemption.

What if I am already parked inside the School Street before the operating time?

Vehicles already parked in the roads before the times of operation will be able to exit. During the operating times any vehicles are advised to travel at walking pace.

How will parents, carers and children with limited mobility be affected by the School Street?

The School Street will make it easier for pupils, parents and carers with limited mobility to access the school by reducing traffic outside the school gates. Those holding valid blue badges are eligible for  exemption from the restrictions and in the case of School Streets with camera enforcement, must apply for that exemption.

All other traffic rules such as the school keep clear (zigzag) markings continue to apply.

Will the School Street cause displacement of traffic?

Through the introduction of a School Street, the total volumes of traffic near to the school are expected to decrease during drop-off and pick-up times.

It is difficult to predict exactly how much traffic will be reduced, however, similar schemes in the London Borough of Camden and the London Borough of Hackney have achieved reductions of 43% and 34% respectively.

There is potential for parking to be dispersed over a wider area rather than concentrated outside the school gates.  We will be working with the school and local community to identify locations away from schools where parents can park safely without obstructing residents on neighbouring streets.

Have parents and carers been told they need to drive their children to school and to avoid public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic?

This is not the case. The UK government has advised schools that they should be "encouraging parents and children and young people to walk or cycle to their education setting where possible."

As part of the initial investigations before considering a School Street, a school carries out a travel survey so that the Council has an understanding of existing travel behaviour.

Some parents or carers will say it’s essential that they drive their child to school; is this scheme designed to penalise them?

The objective of the School Street is to make the school run safer, healthier and more enjoyable for the whole community, not to penalise parents. For those who need to rely on the car for children to travel to school, they can park slightly further away and walk the last part of the journey.

Some parents will feel frustrated at first, but may, over time, find ways to adjust their daily routines. It is already the case that most children arrive at school other than by car.

If there are ways that you feel we can improve the scheme, we’d love to hear from you on the Consultation pages. If the consultation has ended, you can still submit your views by emailing schoolstreets@wandsworth.gov.uk.

How will the scheme be governed or managed?

A Memorandum of Understanding will be drawn up between the Council and the school, detailing the ongoing roles and responsibilities.

How will the scheme be enforced?

How the scheme is enforced will depend on the design of the School Street.

Vehicles may be physically restricted from entering the School Street using barriers or bollards managed by trained volunteers or school staff.

In School Streets with ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras, vehicles entering during its operational hours without having registered an exemption, will receive a PCN (penalty charge notice).

How will visitors know about the School Street?

At the entrances to the School Street, the official ‘no motor vehicles’ traffic sign, together with a ‘school street’ plate, tells people the times at which the restrictions are in effect.

In some instances, we will also install advanced warning signs on approaches to the School Street.

We will produce flyers and letters to notify residents, parents, school staff and local businesses and will plan a range of engagement activities together with the school.

We ask the school and anyone within the School Street to tell their visitors about the restrictions when visits are being planned. Visitors can park on surrounding roads outside the closure (subject to usual parking restrictions).

How will the School Street be monitored?

We undertake a range of measures to monitor School StreetsThese include traffic counts to measure vehicle levels and surveys to measure how children are travelling to school.

We also carry out surveys of parents, carers, residents and local stakeholders to understand the impacts of the School Streets on people in the area.

Is this legal?

Yes. Local authorities can implement Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) or Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs) to control traffic in their area. These are legal powers and can be temporary or permanent. Local residents must be informed about proposals. The Department for Transport has issued statutory guidance to all local authorities in England to help them adapt their streets quickly and cheaply to provide safe space for walking and cycling and to enable social distancing. This is part of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That School Streets also support a healthier and more peaceful start and end to the school day is a huge benefit and we are keen to support their long-term success so are keen to have your views. 

Please see the Consultations page to suggest any improvements for your local School Street. If the consultation has ended, you can still submit your views by emailing schoolstreets@wandsworth.gov.uk.

What if I want to speak to the Council about the School Street?

Please email schoolstreets@wandsworth.gov.uk.