Vehicles will be banned from roads around two Elgin primary schools at drop-off and pick-up times during term time as part of a new safety project.
The ‘School Streets’ pilot will see roads temporarily shut to traffic around New Elgin and Seafield primaries from Tuesday January 5.
The trial will last nine months, after which it will be evaluated, and it is being supported by Police Scotland which has the authority to fine anyone not complying with the closures.
The move follows road safety concerns raised by both schools, as well as residents and families of pupils.
It is hoped the scheme, which has received grant funding through the Scottish Government’s Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets initiative, will encourage walking or cycling to school and improve health and wellbeing by creating a safe space for pupils on their daily commute. It will also help tackle air pollution by keeping vehicles off the road during peak times.
Residents in the closure areas will receive a letter from Moray Council on how to apply for a permit which will allow them to enter and leave during the restricted times as normal.
Permit holders and other exempt drivers are urged to be cautious because parents, carers and children may be walking on the road during the trial.
Morven Snodgrass, head teacher at Seafield Primary, said: “We’re very much looking forward to introducing the Safer Streets scheme to Seafield. This programme will have huge benefits for our local community and its residents, making travel to and from school safer and more enjoyable for families.”
Elaine Milne, head teacher at New Elgin Primary, added: “We’re committed to the safety of the children and their families who live in our community.
“We are a large school and as such have an active junior road safety officers group which works closely with our parents and carers and the police to support our community in staying safe on the roads. We’re very aware of the many incidents which take place on the roads around our school and welcome any measures which will help ensure the safety of our children.”
Councillor Graham Leadbitter, chairman of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee, which approved the scheme, said road safety around schools is an important priority.
He added: “Some of our very busy schools have particular challenges due to large numbers of vehicles in the area at pick-up and drop-off times, and road layouts that can make things very challenging.
“The closure of streets around schools can significantly improve safety and tests have worked really well. These longer-term pilots at New Elgin and Seafield primary schools are an important step forward and are being done with the full support of the schools and Police Scotland.
“We will be working closely with the schools, police and local residents throughout the pilot and I’m very confident that we will have safer streets around these schools as a result.”
Inspector Andrew Wilson, from Elgin community policing team, welcomed the scheme. He said: “We are supportive of this pilot project and will continue to liaise with Moray Council as it progresses.
“Safety on the roads around schools is of the utmost importance. We would urge all motorists to take extra care while driving near schools and to follow these restrictions when they are in place.”