Funding to enable and encourage more primary school children to walk to school has been announced (21 March 2019) by the Department for Transport.
The £1 million fund is an extension of existing funding and will affect 400 schools in the following combined authority areas: Birmingham City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Merseytravel, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and West Midlands Combined Authority.
A generation ago, 70 per cent of primary school children walked to school but this has dropped to just over half (51 per cent). The Government has a target in its Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) to have 55 per cent of primary school children walking to school by 2025.
We are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of air pollution on our children’s health - stunting their lung development and increasing the risk of asthma attacks. One in four cars during peak hours are on the school run and the toxic fumes they produce stay around the school gates long after the cars have left. We need to be making it possible for families to swap to healthier forms of travel and this funding will go a long way to doing that in these local authority areas.