“Park Smart – and put children’s safety first” – Borough and County Council and Police join forces in call to protect children by parking safely around schools

Representatives from Surrey Heath Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and local schools are asking residents to put children’s safety first when parking around schools across the Borough.

Dangerous and illegal parking around schools, particularly at drop off and pick up times, is an ongoing problem, despite schools repeatedly urging parents to park safely outside their schools.

Parking on pavements, or on zigzags or yellow lines surrounding schools, reduces space and visibility for drivers and pedestrians, making accidents more likely, especially at busy times.

The latest data about child casualties (serious and slight) at school journey times within 250m of school gates showed an average of 50 per year across Surrey.

Schools, councils and the police have taken action in response to complaints from the public.

SHBC parking enforcement officers have increased the number of visits to schools around the relevant times to try to educate people and improve parking behaviour, including issuing tickets where necessary. These visits are supported by Surrey Police officers where resources allow.

Photo caption: (L-R) PCSO David Yeoman of Surrey Heath Police, Cllr Bill Chapman, Geoffrey Palmer, Chair of Governors, Crawley Ridge Infant School, and David Oakley, Chair of Governors, Crawley Ridge Junior School, show their support for the campaign to park safely around schools.

During the winter term (September to December 2017), 13 Penalty Charge Notices were issued outside schools by SHBC for offences such as parking on zig zag or yellow lines, with another 32 warnings issued.

Surrey County Council has also implemented new parking restrictions outside more schools to increase safety.

However support from parents and guardians dropping children off at school is also required to ensure safe parking every day.

Surrey Heath Borough Councillor Bill Chapman, also a County Councillor and Chair of the SCC Local Area Committee, said: “New parking restrictions have been installed outside more schools to improve road safety.

“However this does not help if parents ignore these restrictions.

“The SHBC civil enforcement team cannot be outside every school every day – so they need the assistance of parents to help make improper parking outside of schools unacceptable.”

Inspector Bob Darkens of Surrey Heath Police said: ‘Where the police are able to support the civil enforcement officers, we will attend schools to crack down on dangerous parking.

“We encourage all Surrey Heath residents to park safely and legally at all times – but especially around schools.”

David Oakley, Chair of Governors, Crawley Ridge Junior School and Geoffrey Palmer, Chair of Governors, Crawley Ridge Infant School, also endorsed this campaign.

In a joint statement, they said: “We know we are by no means the only schools in the borough who have an ongoing problem with inconsiderate or dangerous parking – however a small number of parents of children attending Crawley Ridge Infant and Junior Schools make the decision every day to park on the double yellow lines or no-parking areas near the school.

“The resulting congestion and frustration creates a dangerous environment where children could be injured or worse.

“Requests to parents to recognise these dangers and to change their behaviour continues to be ignored by a few.

“We can only hope this campaign will finally influence those parents to park safely and legally around our schools, and help keep our children safe.”

Cllr Chapman added: “It only takes a few more minutes to park further away in a safe, legal space – surely our children’s safety is worth that?”

More information on safe, legal and sensible parking is available from Park SMART: https://www.drivesmartsurrey.org.uk/media-and-publicity-campaigns/park-smart/

This is part of Drive SMART, a Road Safety and Anti-Social Driving Partnership created by Surrey County Council (including Surrey Fire and Rescue Service) and Surrey Police.