CAR-free areas outside primary and secondary schools will be discussed later this month by City Hall with a Green Party councillor asking the local authority to introduce “no drop” zones.
A motion submitted by councillor Lorna Bogue will ask council officials to consider European Environmental Agency report findings on air quality and stop cars from pulling up outside schools with the exception of drivers that hold a disability badge.
Ms Bogue said the idea could protect children in Cork from the potential life-shortening effects of air pollution and help to reduce congestion around a number of city schools in the mornings and evenings.
“[I would ask that the council] notes the results of the European Environmental Agency ‘Air Quality in Europe 2018’ report that in Ireland, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution is estimated at 1510 people and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease.
“Further noting that the World Health Organisation has described air pollution as the ‘single biggest environmental risk’; Cork City Council will put in place 'no drop zones' - with the exception of blue badge holders - outside primary and secondary schools to protect children and young adults from the known health impacts of air pollution and to encourage alternative modes of transport, where possible, and alleviate traffic during school hour,” Ms Bogue added.
The idea has been trialled in various UK cities including Leeds and Glasgow. The idea has also been experimented with in Oslo, Norway.
A poll commissioned by the British Lung Foundation found that 75% of the public supported car-free zones as six Glasgow primary schools prepared to introduce no drop areas outside their gates in August in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality for children.
The schools in Glasgow had special temporary pedestrian areas set up around them at the start and end of each school day.