A FURTHER 20 schools will be surrounded by car free zones after a review of the traffic safety system showed the initiative to be a success.

And council bosses said they are looking at installing number plate recognition technology to make sure every driver breeching the zones is caught and fined.

By January 2022 there should be 46 car free zones in the city and a further 10 - still to be identified - are set for April 2022.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, said: “The introduction of car free zones has been a very successful initiative and has proved very popular with schools and families across the city since the pilot with six schools in August 2019.

"We now have 36 zones in place across the city and the roll out of a further 10 planned for January 2022 with engagement in place for these schools taking place with staff and parent councils to make sure that everyone has a chance to be involved in the discussion of how the roll programme will work in their school community."

Car free zones were introduced by the council in August 2019 with six primaries taking part in an 18 month pilot.

They were initially enforced by an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order but now a permanent Traffic Regulation Order is in place.

Evaluation of the scheme showed it had reduced the number of cars in the zones at the schools involved and boosted demand for active travel.

During the pandemic, they have also allowed extra space for social distancing outside primaries.

In October 2020 an extra 19 zones covering 20 schools were introduced, then this year another 10 zones, covering 11 schools, were brought in after short delays in August this year.

School car free zones work during term time by banning vehicles from driving in, out or around the streets in each zone while the zone is in force.

Some cars are exempt and residents have permits to enter the zone.

School staff are not exempt and must be in the zone before the restricted period begins and can only exit when the restricted period ends.

Each school will have different timings and signs let drivers know when they can and can't drive in.

The penalty for breaching the zone is a £50 find enforced by Police Scotland.

A council report going to committee on Thursday says: "When the SCFZs were first introduced there was some issues with enforcement which have now been rectified and enforcement is undertaken without issue."

Bosses are looking at alternative enforcement measures, such as automatic number plate registration cameras, similar to those used at bus gates.

But the report adds: "Current legislation in Scotland does not permit their use for the enforcement of SCFZ type schemes."

The council is now proposing to bring in an extra 10 zones for schools returning in January 2022 with Parent Council consultation underway.

Those schools will not be made public until they have agreed to take part.

And it is planned that another 10 will come in to force in April 2022 when schools are back from Easter holidays.

Chris added: "The added benefit of the car free zones, that no one could have predicted before the pandemic, is that they allow more space for parents and carers when bringing their children to school.

"I’m also delighted with the research carried out by Napier University that highlights the impact that the initiative has had on road safety and active school travel around the school and the wider community.”