Banning the School Run

MQT on 2017-03-22
Session date: 
March 22, 2017
Question By: 
Shaun Bailey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


There are over 2000 schools in London. What consultation have you had with them ahead of floating the idea of banning the "school run"?


Answer for Banning the School Run

Answer for Banning the School Run

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am not banning the school run nor intending to ban the school run.  This is ridiculous statement.  However, to be fair, there have been a lot of ridiculous statements coming from the Conservative Group recently.  Once again, it is disappointing that you are choosing to misrepresent my efforts to improve air quality, especially for the most vulnerable.  There are 438 state schools and 364 other educational establishments in London located in areas that exceed legal pollution limits.  This is simply unacceptable.


Since I came to office, over 100 head teachers and many school children have written to me, urgently asking for my assistance to improve air quality around their schools.  We should also not forget that my air quality consultation received a record number of responses, more than any other City Hall consultation, and many of those 15,000 who responded were parents, grandparents, carers and teachers.


I will not be a Mayor who ignores significant health issues but I will confront them head-on and that is why I am taking urgent actions to improve air quality.  I am transforming London’s  bus fleet and I am introducing the ‘T-Charge’ later on this year, which is a stepping stone to introducing the world’s first ULEZ in central London in 2019 and then expanding it London-wide for buses, coaches and lorries and up to the North and South Circulars for cars and vans.


I am also taking action to improve air quality at and around schools.  In January [2017] I launched a new schools air quality audits programme.  This will undertake audits at 50 of the most polluted schools and identify measures they and their boroughs can take to tackle pollution.  These measures could include specific road closures, which has already been trialled by Hackney through its School Streets initiative and by the City of London, which has pedestrianised a road next to Sir John Cass’s Primary School, but maintaining local flexibility is key.  At some schools road closures will not be appropriate at all and other interventions could be used to reduce pollution.  For example, Redbridge is tackling engine idling and installing green infrastructure around schools.


I want to encourage schoolchildren to walk and cycle to school wherever possible.  This is good for the air they breathe and also helps to tackle obesity and other health issues.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Thank you, Mayor, for that answer.  Just to be clear, nobody is against your actions to clean up London’s air.  London’s air is dirty and it needs to be cleaned up.  We accept that.  My focus here is this.  Have you done any modelling to suggest that this will help that at all?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Shaun Bailey AM:  What were the results of that modelling and can we have them?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I can give you the results of that modelling. 

Shaun Bailey AM:  I am quite happy to be written to about that.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  All rightYou do not want me to tell the public ‑‑


Shaun Bailey AM:  Come on.  Neither of us wants you to sit there and read the figures out to us.  If you have done it, it is fine.  I will have them.  We will read them.  We will go into it.


My point is this.  Have you looked at the impact that this might have on households in the mornings?  I am asking a direct question.  Do you believe that all Londoners who drive their children to school are unreasonable in doing so?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No.  What a ridiculous question.  What I said in my answer ‑‑


Shaun Bailey AM:  You ‑‑


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You have a problem ‑‑


Shaun Bailey AM:  You have made a statement that made many Londoners believe that you are looking to ban the school run.  That is how it read in the paper, simple as that.  Many people drive to school because they have to.  I am just asking you.  What plans do you have to implement something of that nature?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am not sure what statement he is talking about, Chairman.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Do you want me to read it to you?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.


Shaun Bailey AM: 


“Why can’t we work with schools and councils to have some roads outside schools where cars aren’t allowed to go?”


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You were clearly not listening to my answer.  I gave you examples of three ‑‑


Shaun Bailey AM:  I did listen to your answer.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You clearly were not because I gave you examples of three boroughs where there are actions outside of schools.  One is Redbridge, one is Hackney and one is the City of London.  I can send you a copy of my answer if you did not hear me.


Shaun Bailey AM:  When I read this from the Mayor of London, it sounds like you are talking about London-wide.  Of course, some boroughs are wanting to do that for particular schools.  Have you done any modelling on the impact that that will have on traffic?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I am trying to be helpful.  Can I just repeat my answer, the part of it that helps the Assembly Member?  In January [2017] I launched a new schools air quality audits programme.  This will undertake audits at 50 of the most polluted schools ‑‑


Shaun Bailey AM:  That is not what I am asking you.  I am asking you if you have done any modelling about this stuff.  You are talking about small specific things that boroughs have done.  What are you doing about it?  If you are going to suggest to people that we should be banning the school run - and that is how it reads - what have you done to let us understand the impact that that will have on families?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Chairman, I am really confused.


Shaun Bailey AM:  So were we by your statement.  You have said on the one hand that you want to ban it.  On the other hand you have said you are not going to.


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  You can just say that you do not understand the question, Mr Mayor.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  All right.  I do not understand the question at all.


Shaun Bailey AM:  You send those figures to me and I will write back to you to help you understand.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  OK.  If it helps, Chairman, there is a record £1 billion of funding available to the boroughs from TfL to deliver against local priorities including implementing air quality improvements at and around schools.  If the Assembly Member is concerned about a particular school, it can bid for this money.  I am just unclear on what he means.


Shaun Bailey AM:  Thanks for that, Mr Mayor.  That is fine.