PARENTS and carers have been urged to ditch their cars in a fresh bid - launched by Barnsley Council this week - to boost safety and reduce emissions around school gates.

Traffic matters which have affected many locations across the borough, walk-to-school initiatives, regular newsletters, police patrols and even petitions - issued by concerned residents - have so far failed to deter people from clogging up streets.

Shawlands, Holy Rood and Joseph Locke all had their main routes in closed from 7.30am until 4.30pm - last Wednesday and Thursday - as part of Barnsley Council’s ‘School Streets’ project which encourages families people to walk, scoot or cycle to school instead.

Using funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this is the fourth out of ten planned road closure events.

Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet spokesperson for public health, said: “Physical activity is crucial for our overall wellbeing.

“After a great summer and the very successful Beat the Street project, we want to encourage families to continue staying active by swapping shorter car journeys for walking, cycling or scooting.

“Replacing shorter car journeys with walking, cycling or scooting is an easy way to build physical activity minutes into our daily routines.

“Not only does this make the school run more fun and enjoyable, but also benefits health and wellbeing which can improve pupils’ concentration in the classroom.”

Dame Sarah Storey, active travel commissioner for South Yorkshire and Britain’s most successful Paralympian, also attended Wednesday’s launch.

She added: “School Streets events are some of the most inspiring and uplifting events that I have the privilege of attending.

“Children love movement and activity so to be able to utilise their journey to school as an opportunity for this, without safety fears and traffic fumes, is the way they would design their world given the choice.

“Building healthy habits for life is so important and the fun of an active journey can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

Barnsley Council will also recruit a new officer to manage a project encouraging youngsters to walk or cycle to school as part of the scheme.

The role will be funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) with support from the Sheffield City Region.

Duncan Thompson, headteacher at Shawlands Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in our first School Streets road closure trial.

“Shaw Street and its surrounding roads often become gridlocked with school run traffic, which negatively impacts local residents.

“We aim to encourage children and parents to make alternative transport choices to school by making them more aware of the issues around pollution, health and wellbeing, especially from idling cars.

“As well as being educational for our children, we aim to reclaim the space outside school for families to enjoy, whether through walking, cycling and scooting to school.”