Jewish UK
The Stamford Hill area of north London is popular with Orthodox JewsGetty Images

The leaders of a North London Hasidic Jewish sect are attempting to ban women from driving in what is believed to the first formal directive of its kind in the UK.

Several Belz rabbis and educational institution leaders based in Stamford Hill have endorsed a letter that described women drivers as going against "the traditional rules of modesty in our camp".

The letter, seen by the Jewish Chronicle, also said children will be banned from attending schools if they were driven their by their mother, based on recommendations by the Belzer Rebbe in Israel, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach.

The letter said there had been an increase of "mothers of pupils who have started to drive" in the area that has led to "great resentment among parents of pupils of our institutions".

Stamford Hill is believed to be home to around 30,000 Hasidic Jews, the largest concentration of the Orthodox Jewish community in Europe.

While many Hasidic women do not drive, not all Orthodox sects discourage them from doing so. This is believed to be the first time a ban has been urged in the UK.

Dina Brawer, UK Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, told the Jewish Chronicle the ban is a "draconian ban [of] power and control of men over women".

She added: "In this sense, it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia. That it masquerades as a halachic [religious law] imperative is shameful and disturbing."