A CAMPAIGN to encourage safer and more considerate parking at the school gates has been launched in County Durham.

Durham County Council’s road safety team, in partnership with Durham Constabulary and Ron Hogg Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, has unveiled the Safer School Gate Parking Campaign at St Cuthbert’s RCVA Primary School, in Chester-le-Street.

Parents inconsiderately and inappropriately parking at the school gates is a constant frustration for schools such as St Cuthbert’s and their local communities. The road safety team has developed a range of resources for schools of help them create their own parking campaign.

It also encourages parents to take active and sustainable journeys to school, through schemes such as Park and Stride which advises parking five or ten minutes from school and walking the rest of the way.

The resource pack includes outdoor vinyl banners available for schools to borrow and display on their school fencing, safer school gate parking leaflets, a letter for schools to be sent out to parents and carers, as well as a parking promise, for parents and carers to sign, which addresses issues such as parking across drives and blocking access for emergency vehicles.

A toolkit will also be available to help schools address their parking issues with sustainable travel solutions. The kit will give an overview of the main sustainable travel initiatives and provides a ‘how to’ guide to enable schools to set up their chosen scheme.

Councillor Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “We are encouraging parents and carers to think of alternative and more sustainable ways to do the school run, which will not only benefit children’s safety but will benefit the environment too.

“We hear regularly from concerned, parents, teachers and local residents about the problems that irresponsible parking can cause. We are hoping that schools across the county will take advantage of these fantastic resources and help make all our streets safer.”

Clare Swales, headteacher at St Cuthbert’s, said: “We are delighted to be chosen as the launch school for this really important campaign. Our pupil school council has worked really hard to make adults aware of how dangerous inconsiderate parking is.”

Mr Hogg said: “I have visited many schools across County Durham and seen the chaos that is often caused by parking outside at busy times. It can also be dangerous, and against the law.

"I am pleased to support this campaign because it’s so important that our children and young people are safe.”

Schools interested can find more information at https://www.durham.gov.uk/roadsafety.