Thousands of children across the UK will take steps to reduce local air pollution by walking to school during International Walk to School Month this October.
Living Streets, the charity behind the walk to school campaign in the UK, is encouraging families to leave the car at home for the school run and instead join pupils globally who are celebrating the benefits of walking and wheeling to school during October.
A generation ago, 70 per cent of children walked to school but data released by the Department for Transport last week revealed that just 47 per cent of 5-16 year olds in England currently walk to school, with it being as low as 30 per cent for children in the North East and North West. In Scotland, 45 per cent of children walk to school, and in Wales 44 per cent walk, wheel, cycle or scoot.
Stephen Edwards, Interim Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“Swapping our short car journeys for walking or wheeling is an easy way to reduce air pollution, fuel consumption and congestion, and the journey to school is a great place to start.
“One in four cars on the road at morning peak hours are on the school run, despite the vast majority of families living less than two miles from their nearest school. Choosing cleaner ways to travel will help improve the air we breathe and help children to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day needed to stay fit, healthy and happy.
“International Walk to School Month is an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy the benefits of walking to school.”
Living Streets is running a social media challenge for schools and families throughout October. Pupils are asked to choose an animal or natural habitat endangered by climate change and walk, wheel, scoot, cycle or Park & Stride to school to protect it.
Families and schools can then share their #WalkForTheWorld images on social media to be entered into a prize draw with prizes available for schools and families.