Closing roads in England for community events has been made easier to boost children’s outdoor play.
The Department for Transport has revised its road closure guidance for councils to encourage them to create more so-called play streets.
Residents applying for road closure orders to allow children to play on traffic-free streets have previously faced a costly process because of the requirement to advertise notices.
But new guidance means local authorities can temporarily close roads by making special event orders that do not need to be publicised.
Consent will be required for multiple closures, but to make the process easier councils can use a single application to close several roads over a 12-month period, rather than submitting individual forms.
It is hoped this will break down some of the barriers that have prevented children from playing outside near where they live.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “Play streets offer wonderful opportunities for children to get outdoors and for families and communities to get together.
“A generation ago, it was common to see young people playing out in the street but today it can be a rare sight.
“That’s why today I’m delighted to be making it easier for those who want to create play streets, boosting the health and well-being of children, families and communities.”
Alice Ferguson, director of Playing Out, an organisation supporting the play streets movement, said:
“We are delighted that the Government has now issued guidance for councils to support play streets.
“Children need the chance to play out freely near home, as was the norm a generation ago. Heavy traffic and other conditions have made this increasingly difficult.
“We hope this guidance will enable all councils to get behind the idea and that we will see many more children having the chance to play out and make friends on their own streets and estates over the coming years.”