Keep clear for safer schools

Each morning and afternoon schools across Nottingham are patrolled by members of the City Councils Regulation Enforcement and Compliance Team (REACT) who, as part of our School Keep Clear scheme educate children and parents on the dangers of parking outside schools.

The main aim of the scheme is to maintain child safety by keeping the area outside schools free from dangers such as parked cars, traffic, and pollution. Parked cars are particularly dangerous as they limit visibility for children crossing the road, increasing the likeliness of an accident occurring from oncoming traffic.

Up to 12 schools a day are patrolled by REACT officers who educate parents and children on the dangers of parking outside schools, the effects this can have, and advice on safer, alternative solutions. A CCTV car is also in operation, which uses number plate recognition to catch illegally parked cars and issues fines.

Cars found within the schools ‘Keep Clear’ zone are also asked to move, with failure to comply resulting in a fine being issued. It is hoped that the fines will deter repeat behaviour. The scheme also encourages active travel by preventing vehicles from stopping outside schools, increasing the need to walk or use alternative modes of transport.

“Parents are often very receptive of our officers out on patrol and the advice they give” says Senior Community Protection Officer, Brett Edmund. “The parking situation can drastically improve when we are at schools, and we get a good opportunity to raise awareness by getting the children involved and even getting them to educate their parents themselves.”

Senior community protection officer with a school child educating a waiting parent

The team also works with local councillors and children to promote clean air and anti-idling outside schools and warn of the implications. Idling cars outside of schools contribute to harmful pollutants in the air that can have adverse health effects, especially in children who are young and still susceptible due to their smaller height and developing lungs. Switching engines off while waiting, although a small change, can have huge benefits to public health and air quality, and can bring us one step closer to our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2028.

“Through the presence of REACT officers, CCTV vehicle and by educating parents we can show how important Keep Clear zones are” Brett Edmund continues.

“It’s great that we are able to improve the parking situation outside of schools and make it a safer place for children. I hope that the work we do while we are out on patrol raises enough awareness that Keep Clear zones stay clear, even when the REACT team are not there to enforce it.

“It’s only when our advice is taken on board, that parking outside of schools will become safer for children in the longer term.”