IT’S quite shocking that given ever increasing national concern over air pollution from fossil-fuel powered vehicular traffic in our towns and cities, virtually nothing is being done to address one of the primary culprits – that uniquely British institution, the school run, which every weekday between 8 and 9 in the morning and from 2.30 to 3.30 in the afternoon almost doubles the traffic on our roads.

As one who lives within 100 metres of a large suburban school for 6 to 12 year olds in Poole, I repeatedly ask myself why so many parents, invariably mothers, insist on driving their little darlings to school instead of making them walk or take the bus (which, together with suburban trains, incidentally, should be free for all young people under 21).

Has it never occurred to them that the failure to do so deprives their offspring of the confidence and independence to be gained from developing such very basic but essential learning skills as catching the right bus and getting off at the right stop, or finding their way unaided to school on foot?

Do they ever bother to consider the risk of growing obesity in their own progeny from lack of exercise when they get driven to and from school every day?

Or the inconvenience to resident neighbours whose driveways are repeatedly blocked by idling, exhaust spewing vehicles belonging to parents waiting for their children later in the day?

Or the flagrant inattention to posted speed limits (usually 20 mph) when they race off at speeds well in excess of these limits, endangering the livelihoods of other children walking often unaccompanied on the sidewalks to and from school?

Granted that a minority of parents live too far from school not to drive their children there, it’s clear most live well within the confines of the appropriate school catchment areas.

Thank goodness therefore that a tiny minority of local authorities, notably Waltham Forest in Greater London, have finally begun to introduce measures to discourage parents who resort to this selfish, socially undesirable and deplorable practice.

Let’s pray our newly constituted Bournemouth Christchurch Poole council can get its act together and one day follow suit.


Julyan Avenue, Poole