CAR-FREE zones could be set up around two South Lanarkshire schools to aid with social distancing.

St Joseph’s Primary in Blantyre and Burnside Primary in Rutherglen could soon be free of vehicles after the council’s roads safety forum supported the move on Tuesday, November 17.

Consultation with local residents and information events had taken place in November and December 2019 but initial plans were shelved following the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Half of the 20 respondents were in favour of a Car Free School Zone (CFSZ) at St Joseph’s Primary while 81 per cent of the 104 respondents were in favour of the zone at Burnside Primary.

The zones could now be introduced early next year to aid with social distancing around the two schools and improve road safety.

Glenlui Avenue would be the only street affected by the zone at Burnside Primary while the zone at St Joseph’s would cover Ennisfree Road and Park Lane.

Three quarters of respondents agreed that there were “significant difficulties” with parking at St Joseph’s Primary during school hours with 56 per cent saying the same of Burnside Primary.

Nine in ten also agreed or strongly agreed that a CFSZ was “required” to improve road safety at both schools.

Plans for a CFSZ at Loch Primary and St Anthony’s Primary in Rutherglen weren’t supported by 75 per cent of respondents but officers have committed to work with the school communities to see what other measures would be required to gain support for a similar zone.

Residents and business within the proposed zones, blue badge holders, school staff and pupil transport would all be eligible for permits to enter car-free zones while emergency vehicles would be exempt and free to access the zone when required.

In a report to the forum, executive director for community and enterprise resources Michael McGlynn said: “Since [the consultation], the Covid-19 pandemic has taken hold and as a direct consequence of this the Scottish Government have put in place funding to assist with social distancing messaging and measures where there is high pedestrian activity at points on the road network that are constrained.

“One of these was the Spaces for People initiative where one of these projects will introduce measures outside schools to provide social distancing and active travel messages as well providing an environment outside schools where this can take place.

“A phased implementation of measures have been identified with the extension of the car free zone project a possible later phase.

“Consultation with Police Scotland showed support for the initiative, but they advised that they could not guarantee a presence every day. They would however look at providing a suitable presence on the first few days of implementing each CFSZ.

“Draft Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders will be amended and progressed with a view to implementing the agreed CFSZs early in 2021.

“The current Covid-19 situation may affect our proposed timelines, and these will be kept under review.”