New cameras installed to improve safety around schools

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New automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras are being installed outside two schools as a trial project, to help Wokingham Borough Council improve road safety, and these will be going live on 11 September 2023.

The council has been enforcing the School Keep Clear markings since 2017, mainly with officers on the ground issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) to vehicles who stop in these restricted areas. When officers are patrolling in the area an immediate reduction in people parking in the keep clear areas is seen.

The ANPR cameras will monitor the School Keep Clear markings daily and a PCN will be issued to offending vehicles.

With up to 60 schools in the borough, it is not feasible to be at each school at drop-off and pick-up times. A trial will launch at two selected schools, The Holt on Holt Lane, Wokingham and Loddon Primary on Hillside Road and Silverdale Road, Earley. If the trial is successful, the council will look to roll-out ANPR to other schools in the borough.

Improving road safety around schools

School Keep Clear markings are in place to help keep children safe when travelling to and from school. It is essential that drivers do not stop in these areas as doing so can prevent a child from being able to see to cross the road safely and prevent them being seen by road users.

People are more likely to follow the rules where enforcement is in place. ANPR is less labour intensive than officers patrolling each area, and this frees the officers to focus on areas that can only be enforced by patrols, such as double yellow lines.

The cameras will go live on 11 September and there will be a one week period during which warnings rather than PCNs will be issued, for camera enforcement only. From 18 September, full enforcement will be in place and PCNs will be issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle. Following a six month review, cameras may be rolled out to other schools across the borough.

Protecting our most vulnerable road users

Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “Road safety is a high priority for us and we particularly want to protect our most vulnerable road users, such as children.

“This enforcement is not new, we have been issuing PCNs to those who stop on the School Keep Clear markings for many years. We know that people stick to the rules more when our officers are there, so the installation of ANPR cameras will mean that the area is monitored at all times to act as a deterrent.

“Our hope is that this will lead to 100 per cent compliance with the restrictions and make the areas much safer for our youngest residents.”

All parents at The Holt and Loddon Primary will receive a letter at the beginning of term informing them of the updates.