Girl, 11, mounts road safety campaign - for a path outside her school
12:00 04 July 2014
At 11 years old, Emily Kinder seems an unlikely driving force leading a two-year-old campaign to improve road safety outside her Upminster school.
Oakfields Montessori School is only accessible from Harwood Hall Lane by road and there is no path, meaning that active children who walk or cycle have to put themselves at risk twice daily.
But Emily has made it her mission to lobby for change – even though she leaves the school in a couple of weeks.
Emily, of Oak Avenue, has written a letter to Upminster Ward’s Cllr Linda Van den Hende to complain and call for action.
“From personal experience it is extremely dangerous,” she writes. “I have risked my life and seen others do the same just to be green and healthy.
“Parents have to run with their children into the safety of the school grounds – it is not fair.”
Emily, who starts at Brentwood Independent School in September, told the Recorder of one of the experiences she has had walking to school: “When I was walking with my mum once, a pheasant jumped out of the bush.
“I jumped into my mum’s arms, but if I’d jumped the other way I do not know what would have happened. There were cars coming.”
She added: “Corbetts Tey School has a pavement, so why can’t we?”
Havering Council built a path along Harwood Hall Lane as far as the neighbouring school in the months that followed another letter of complaint that Emily wrote more than two years ago.
In addition to Emily’s latest plea, parents are also encouraging people to sign a petition calling for action.
So far more than 100 people have pledged support for the cause.
Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for environment, said: “Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough space for a footpath here.
“A proposal to build one was put to the Highways Advisory Committee (HAC) last year. However, it was rejected for this reason. The school is more than welcome to put forward a different proposal to be considered by HAC, and if there’s something that we can do, then of course, we will.”