Mounting fines over Highgate school streets scheme 'extremely unfair'

The scheme is designed to reduce pollution and encourage cycling and walking. Picture: Be First

Haringey's school streets scheme aims to promote cycling and walking - Credit: Archant

Parents have “unwittingly racked hundreds of pounds of fines” from timed road closures around Highgate Primary School, Haringey Council’s opposition says. 

The local authority recently introduced its school streets scheme – where cars are banned during drop-off and pick-up hours. 

During the first fortnight of enforcement (May 10-23) the council issued 1,310 penalty charge notices across the borough, including 150 in Kenwood Road as part of the Highgate scheme.  

But father-of-two Socrates Economou said his four fines were “extremely unfair” due to inadequate signage and notification of how the scheme works. 

Drivers breaking the rules are charged £65 if paid within 14 days, rising to £130 within 28 days.

The council’s opposition says the scheme “must not become a cash cow” for the local authority, as Haringey said the scheme was there to “change behaviours” and reduce traffic.

School streets will see the road outside the entrance closed at the beginning and end of the school

Issues of unclear signage have been put to the council - Credit: Archant

Socrates, whose family lives in Highgate, told the Ham&High: “Haringey seems to be showing absolutely no flexibility with this or any understanding.  

“A lot of parents are extremely upset, they complained to the school and the council and they don't feel like they're being heard really.” 

Most Read

Socrates said drivers turning left onto Kenwood Road are unable to see the signs warning them of the measures, as they can only be viewed straight on. 

Cllr Liz Morris (Lib Dem, Highgate) said that while her party is “fully behind” school streets, it is “vital” to retain public support for the programme.

Highgate councillor Liz Morris will campaign for CCTV cameras to be put up to help in the fight agai

Highgate councillor Liz Morris - Credit: Archant

“There are parents who have missed communications from schools and some street signage has been poorly sited, which has resulted in a number of parents who have unwittingly racked hundreds of pounds of fines,” she said.   

Cllr Morris added: “The council must be fair and reasonable when they implement new school street schemes.” 

Cllr Mike Hakata, Haringey’s cabinet member for transport, said the council communicated with residents “extensively”, including letters and posters.

“There can be teething problems with any new rollout, and we’re working hard to address any initial issues that may arise in relation to our School Streets scheme swiftly and successfully," He said. 

“However, the School Streets scheme is there to change behaviours and reduce overall traffic volumes in their associated zones.  

“Its ultimate success will be based on producing the lowest number of fines.” 

He said the Highgate signage “exceeds” national traffic requirements. 

In May, Highgate primary praised the school streets scheme for improving safety, and encouraging cycling and walking.