School parking camera trial launched

The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) is today launching a pilot scheme, using school parking cameras at two locations in North Essex. The scheme, known as Park Safe Schools, is believed to be amongst one of the first of its kind in the country and aims to use technology to improve road safety at the school gates and tackle dangerous and illegal parking outside schools.

The Park Safe Schools scheme is designed to provide additional support to NEPP’s existing 3PR initiative which aims to improve congestion and tackle inconsiderate school parking through education and engagement. It will also support and complement NEPP’s existing patrols.

This new scheme uses a temporary fixed parking enforcement camera outside a school. The camera will only focus on, and monitor motorists’ behaviour on the no stopping restrictions outside a school, such as zig-zags, and if needed, postal Penalty Charge Notices will be issued to those seen contravening the restrictions. Signage and road markings will confirm what the parking/waiting restrictions are in each location and also remind motorists that camera enforcement is in place.

With 300+ schools in North Essex, this pilot scheme has many benefits, including the ability for NEPP to remotely monitor the parking behaviour in these specific areas much more closely at peak times and for longer periods. NEPP will also gain a better insight into the issues at each location and can then work with the local schools and communities to improve road safety and motorists’ behaviour.

The two pilots will take place at Stanway Fiveways Primary School in Colchester and Chase Lane Primary School in Dovercourt. Both schools have already been working closely with the NEPP to tackle parking issues and have 3PR schemes in place.

Due to their close proximity, the pilot scheme in Winstree Road, Stanway will also cover restrictions at two other schools, the Stanway School and Lexden Springs. With the three schools so close to one another, there is a significant increase in traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times causing road safety, congestion, parking and air quality issues. This pilot scheme should help address overall problems in the area. In addition, it will also support another project in this area between Essex County Council and Sustrans, all looking to improve these issues of congestion.

At Chase Lane Primary School in Dovercourt, the nature and positioning of the school’s entrance and exit causes problematic and dangerous parking, which this new scheme should help improve further.

NEPP will continue to work with the pilot schools and local communities throughout the pilot to ensure its effectiveness. Both pilots will run for a minimum period of one school term, when the situation will be reviewed.

To avoid the possibility of moving parking issues to another location, NEPP will continuously monitor any risk of dispersing the problem along with the schools and take any action necessary.

For further information about the scheme, including Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the NEPP’s dedicated webpage at:

Councillor Robert Mitchell, Chairman of the North Essex Parking Partnership, said: “School parking is one of the issues we get contacted about most and I’m delighted that North Essex is one of the first areas in England to trial this technology as part of our efforts to address dangerous and inconsiderate parking outside schools.

“As well as addressing parking concerns and supporting our current work with schools, this scheme should help reduce congestion and improve air quality in these busy locations, while also supporting Police and Essex County Council road safety campaigns.

“We will, of course, be monitoring this pilot very carefully before deciding whether, or not, these cameras might become permanent features. This trial period should also provide useful information in the validity of such schemes around other NEPP area schools.”

As this is a new, innovative scheme, NEPP has been working very closely with the local schools, community and councillors since the scheme was agreed in January 2020 at the NEPP’s Joint Parking Committee meeting. The NEPP has also provided schools with resources to ensure local residents; school children; parents/carers and staff are aware of the scheme.

Councillor Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “This is a really exciting new way of using technology to improve road safety, parking issues and air quality, and supports our new Positive Parking Strategy and commitment to tackling climate change.

“The way NEPP has worked with the school and local community ahead of this pilot launching is fantastic, and I look forward to following its progress over the coming months.”

Councillor Michael Talbot, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Any measure which improves safety for children attending school has to be a good thing to try, and this is a welcome addition to the already great work the 3PR scheme does.

“I cannot wait to see the results of this pilot and hope it achieves its objectives as children return to school.”

Julie O’Mara, Headteacher of Chase Lane Primary School, said: “I am looking forward to working with the school community and North Essex Parking Partnership to improve the safety of our pupils and their families. The progress we have already achieved with 3PR and Park Safe Schools, to raise awareness of considerate parking has been great. The Park Safe Schools Camera will really help to improve road safety and parking around our school.”

Primary schools without 3PR are unable to apply for or request Park Safe Schools, however any schools that are interested in the 3PR scheme to address parking problems, should complete the contact form on the 3PR website.

A short video explaining how the scheme operates can be found on the NEPP’s YouTube channel, Anna Tendant, here.