Shropshire Council has been criticised for failing to implement car-free zones outside schools in time for the start of term, despite councillors voting in support of the move eight weeks ago.

Councillor David Vasmer, who put forward the successful motion asking the council to introduce ‘school streets’ at a full council meeting on July 16, has labelled the slow progress “pathetic”.

The scheme, which has already been adopted by other councils across the country, closes off roads with schools on to motor traffic for short periods at the start and end of the school day, in an effort to promote active travel, cut air pollution and improve road safety.

During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increased uptake due to the need to promote social distancing among families at the school gates.

Councillor Vasmer, who represents the Underdale division in Shrewsbury and is a member of the council’s opposition Liberal Democrat group, said: “Given that we are fighting Covid-19 with social distancing and encouraging school pupils to walk or cycle to school and given the fast-track procedures the government has put in place to enable councils to close streets quickly, now would seem to be the ideal time to try out new ideas involving street closures immediately. That has not happened.

“My safe schools motion called on the council to restrict motor traffic at the school gates for a short period time, generally at drop-off and pick-up times.

“And when that is not possible – for example when a school entrance is situated on an important road – to introduce measures to promote walking and cycling. But the council has taken no action.”

A report is set to be presented at the next full council meeting on September 24, aligning Councillor Vasmer’s school streets motion with an earlier motion by Councillor Dan Morris, that was voted through at a council meeting in December 2019, to implement a blanket 20mph speed limit outside all schools in the county.

This has however meant that school streets were not in place by the start of the new academic year, despite the council introducing temporary closures on a number of key town centre roads in several towns.

He said: “Action should have been taken in July immediately after the motion was carried to make the journey to school safer and more healthy for as many children as possible.

“Shrewsbury’s High Street could be closed at the drop of a hat, and more recently Victoria Quay, and yet we have to wait months for the council to implement a policy that was supported by councillors from all parties.

“I would encourage members of the public to ask questions at the next council meeting as to why no action has been taken to make the journey to their local school safer before the start of the new term. The deadline for the receipt of questions is 10am on Tuesday, September 22.

“At the rate Shropshire is going, it will be the end of the school year before anything gets done.”

Shropshire Council has been asked to comment.