School car ban planned for Midlothian

Croft Street, Dalkeith outside King's Park Primary
Croft Street, Dalkeith outside King's Park Primary

The council is planning a pilot scheme to encourage parents to stop taking their cars to school when dropping off and picking up their children.

Midlothian Council’s School Streets scheme would be trialled for a year at King’s Park Primary School in Dalkeith and Lasswade Primary School in Bonnyrigg, with the local authority required to seek a legal order that bans most traffic from drop off/pick up streets around the schools.

Local people will be consulted about the £21,000 project to make sure there’s support for it and to establish which streets should be included in the zone.

Ann Morrison, chairwoman of the Lasswade Primary School Parent Council, welcomed the move.

She said: “I think it’s a good thing. The parent council has been wanting this for a while. It will be safer for our 

“We first asked about this ban two years ago. We spoke to PC Hutchison about the roads around the school, he put together some evidence and the council at the time rejected this idea.

“Last year I met with our local councillors Derek Milligan and Ian Baxter, along with Lyndsey Haddow, at the council to discuss this again.

“We don’t know the details yet. But I’m delighted.”

Ann described the current parking situation at Lasswade: “It’s terrible. For eight years we have tried everything with parents to get them to park more responsibly.

“Unfortunately we have had hundreds of complaints from other parents, children walking to school and from local residents, basically about bad manners.

“Because we took so many out of catchment kids, their parents have to drive to school. So I can see why people are frustrated about this.

“There are lots of people going to be affected. Though the logistics of taking your child to school and getting to work is a child care issue, not a school issue.”

If the pilot project goes ahead, passes will be issued to residents and there will be exceptions for disabled badge holders, the emergency services and badged delivery vehicles.

Gordon Henderson, a parent at King’s Park Primary, spoke of the issues there.

He said: “The cars double, treble and quadruple park in bays marked for emergency access. And more often than not someone uses the

disabled parking bays when they shouldn’t.

“It’s really ridiculous. They could park in Morrisons fine and walk round.

“I think School Streets is a good idea.

“If the council explain why it is doing it and tell people where they can park legally then it’s a good idea.”

School Streets has recently been piloted by both Edinburgh Council and East Lothian Council.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for school travel, Councillor Derek Rosie (SNP), said: “By introducing the School Streets pilot, we aim to create a safer, more pleasant environment, one where pupils will get to school by walking and cycling, in turn reducing congestion and pollution in the area.”