Cars are to be banned outside seven schools in Glasgow in an effort to improve road safety for children.
A pilot scheme will create temporary pedestrian areas during busy periods in the morning and afternoon to help pupils arrive and leave school safely.
The primary schools – Bankhead, Broomhill, Hillhead, Lourdes, Our Lady of the Rosary, St Blane’s and Toryglen – have been earmarked to participate in the scheme.
Glasgow City Council is seeking to hear views on the plans from a range of individuals and bodies, including headteachers, parent councils and Police Scotland.
The schools selected for the pilot are described as having a history of complaints and concerns from parent councils, community councils and elected members about pupil safety on the school run.
Eligibility for involvement in the scheme also considers the school’s location on the road network. For example, the school entrance shouldn’t open on to a bus route.
Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convenor for Education, Skills and Early Years, said calls from affected communities for a safer environment outside schools had driven forward the plans.
Mr Cunningham said: “There is a public demand from parents and residents to make sure children are as safe as possible when heading to and from school.
“A number of initiatives have already tried to clamp down on poor driver behaviour, but problems that put children at risk still persist.
“In the circumstances, we have to go one step further to protect our children. Car-free zones outside schools can create safe spaces for young people at key points of the school day.
“The zones are being introduced on a trial basis and we will be looking very carefully at the evidence to see how effective they prove to be.”
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said the programme could help encourage more pupils to take active travel options to get to school.
She said: “We must ensure our young people are as active as possible as a way to tackle the ever increasing problem of childhood obesity.
“Creating a safer, more pleasant environment for children to walk and cycle to school can absolutely play a part in promoting a healthier lifestyle for young people.
“Unfortunately, Glasgow currently has the highest rate of pupils being driven to school compared to other cities in Scotland.
“This amount of traffic heading to the school clearly impacts on the wider environment and creates road safety risks at the school gate.
“School car-free zones will keep streets around schools clear of cars at the busiest times of the school day. We hope school car-free zones will give parents greater confidence that their children can walk or cycle to school safely every day.”
A starting date for the school car-free zones is yet to be confirmed, although it is expected that the trial period will last for up to 18 months.
Indicators for the success of the project will include reductions in congestion, speed of traffic around school gates and any increase in the number of children walking and cycling to school.
Joseph Carter, from British Lung Foundation Scotland, said: “Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and reducing their exposure to harmful pollutants is essential to avoid lasting damage to their lungs.
“Transport emissions are one of the biggest contributors to harmful levels of air pollution and we must consider radical measures to tackle the growing public health crisis from air pollution in Scotland.
“We welcome Glasgow City Council’s consultation on car-free zones as a step towards tackling air pollution and hope that the idea will be taken up by other local authorities across Scotland.”