Aberdeenshire Council is addressing concerns over irresponsible parking at schools with its newly launched Park Smart campaign.
Police Scotland is supporting the project which aims to tackle potentially dangerous parking habits by educating road users and enforcing best practice.
My advice is that wherever possible, walk to schoolJamie Harrison
Complaints regarding irresponsible parking are on the increase with teaching staff, school users and members of the public all voicing concern.
A recent Hands Up survey, carried out by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, suggests that 22% of pupils from schools in Aberdeenshire are driven to school every day.
With one in five journeys to school made by car, the safety of pupils who choose to walk or cycle is being put unnecessarily at risk.
This in turn is putting families off allowing their children to walk or cycle to school on their own due to the dangers they could face at the school gate.
The Park Smart campaign aims to educate and enforce responsible parking around schools. It is currently being trialled at 16 Aberdeenshire schools.
It will also encourage people to think about how their decision to drive has an impact on others.
A package of initiatives is being made available to schools as part of the campaign, giving pupils the chance to get involved and help spread the word.
Police Scotland will carry out enforcement visits, providing a follow up on the promotional material.
The involvement and support from Police Scotland highlights the importance of the issue at hand, and has been welcomed by Aberdeenshire Council.
Inspector Jamie Harrison, from the Formartine Community Policing team who will be heading up the Police operation, said: “From my engagement with local communities, dangerous and inconsiderate parking around our schools is of enormous concern to the public.
“My advice is that wherever possible, walk to school. If you have to drive then leave in plenty of time, ensure you park legally, safely and consider parking further from the school to avoid congestion.
“Local Police will be running a specific enforcement operation in the near future to tackle the minority of parents who park irresponsibly.”
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “Irresponsible parking will not go away over night, but we hope this campaign will be a reminder to parents that it will not be tolerated.
“Every child has the right to safe access to their school and they should not have to face dangers at the school gate caused by a minority of irresponsible drivers.”
Vice chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Alan S. Buchan, said: “There is a real need to make people aware of the dangers of choosing to park irresponsibly around schools.”