Fox Primary School
London W8 7PP
Executive Headteacher: Paul Cotter
Head of School: Emma Madden
Deputy Headteacher: Rosalind Morgan and Hannah Smart
Telephone: 020 7727 7637
Dear Cllr Thalassites,
We are writing to express our enthusiastic support for the recent progress made by RBKC in improving cycling infrastructure in the borough. Fox Primary school is a well-established RBKC institution with strong and far-reaching community links. As such, we feel this is a discussion that very much involves us and impacts us every day. While we understand the protected cycle lane on Kensington High Street is still unfinished, even in these early stages, we have seen a huge range of benefits that we hope to see develop.
As a school, our principal priority is the children. Put simply, well-considered cycling infrastructure provides more safe transport options for more children. Of course, the benefits of a safe route to school are significant since this journey is made twice a day at some of the busiest times. Encouraging families away from vehicular transport with a safe alternative will ease congestion on the roads surrounding schools. Driving school runs will become cycling school runs. We have been very pleased to see that RBKC are taking their duty to protect the most vulnerable road users seriously.
By providing a range of environmentally friendly travel options, we can empower the next generation to drastically reduce our collective impact on the current climate crisis. We discuss these topics extensively in school and the children are well equipped with the right attitude. This is vital since the impact of air pollution on young people is especially significant. However, without infrastructure in place, it is difficult for them to action ideas that they know are beneficial for the environment. Prior to the new cycle lane on KHS, there were effectively no safe cycling routes for our school community, which was a major deterrent to families choosing to travel in this way. Of course, reducing pollution caused by unnecessary car use will go a long way towards RBKC’s goal of becoming net carbon neutral by 2030.
Cycling as a means of transport is accessible to all. From a social justice point of view, schools are becoming increasingly aware that a car based COVID recovery is not an option for everyone. Safe and reliable cycle links provide a freedom of movement within and between boroughs for all that is easy to take for granted. Active travel forms a big part of the discussions we have with children about a healthy lifestyle. We are facing an obesity crisis and developing children’s understanding of how to approach each day with a health-conscious mind-set is paramount.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have seen a huge increase in the number of staff members travelling to school by bike. When traffic was light, these journeys were safe and stress free. Now the roads are once again congested, those trying to travel by bike are feeling under threat. Especially when the road infrastructure makes little or no allowance for them. The KHS cycle lane has already made a significant and positive impact on the experience of those who use it, and has directly led to a number of our staff choosing to cycle to work instead of driving. It creates a clearly demarcated, safe space for vulnerable road users. While adaptations like this are vital for key workers during a pandemic, their obvious benefits extend well into the long-term.
Overall, we really appreciate the work that has gone into implementing the first RBKC bike lane. Its positive impacts have been immediate and far-reaching. However, we believe there is still more to do. It was a shame to see that attempts at the integration of a protected cycle lane on Holland Park Avenue were swiftly blocked even before the formal conclusion of the public consultation on the plans. Therefore, we believe every effort needs to be made to maintain momentum on this project. We are keen to see the next stage of implementation take place. Junctions surrounding the new bike lane would benefit from careful consideration in order to integrate the new traffic dynamic effectively. Beyond this, we are excited at the prospect of a positive and forward thinking approach to improving cycling infrastructure in the borough at large.
On behalf of all of our staff and the wider school community, I want to offer my profound gratitude to RBKC councillors for your vision in taking action to make our streets safer and greener for everyone who lives and works here. Perhaps even more importantly, we thank you for your courage and tenacity over the coming weeks and months in maintaining your resolve to do the right thing by our kids.