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Parking and vehicle idling

Excessive parking within and around schools causes problems on a daily basis. Idling vehicles generate emissions which are harmful to health. These pages provide information on schemes and programmes to support schools on these issues.

Encouraging non-car based travel to school, for pupils and staff, is the ultimate solution to parking problems around school gates. Car sharing for staff and school helpers can also reduce the number of single-occupancy car journeys to school - see  for more information.

For those who have to travel to school by car, safer and smarter parking can be encouraged through the Park Smart campaign.

Park Smart

Park Smart is a four week campaign to help you engage with parents and carers. All West Lothian primary schools should have this resource. Replacement CD including promotional material is available from

Some schools have used the Park Smart campaign in West Lothian, including Parkhead Primary School.

Messages on smarter and safer parking need to be continually repeated to parents, so Park Smart should not be viewed as a one-off process. Embedding messages and actions around parking could form part of  School travel plans.

The Highway Code

Sometimes it is important to remind everyone of the law and rules around parking and driving. Whilst everyone must work in partnership to solve parking issues around schools, there are some basic rules which many may not be aware of. These include the following from The Highway Code:

 - As per rule 244 of the The Highway Code - waiting and parking, do not park on the pavement unless signs permit it. It is illegal to drive on or over a pavement (legally known as a footway) except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency. Footway parking acts as a barrier to movement by pedestrians, those with mobility difficulties and visual impairments, children on scooters and those with prams or buggies.

 - As per rule 243 of the The Highway Code - waiting and parking, do not stop or park near a school entrance.

Vehicle idling

Idling vehicles for an unreasonable length of time is illegal, and harmful to health. West Lothian Council is part of a region-wide scheme to encourage everyone to switch off their engine to help improve local air quality. Switch off and breathe is a behaviour change campaign which also includes free emissions testing for vehicles.

The campaign also offers a toolkit for schools, and free resources are available from The Switch Off schools page, Switch off and breathe - schools, provides some great videos and links to other educational websites on air quality issues.