Funding to enable and encourage more primary school children to walk to school was announced today by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The Walk to School Outreach programme will be delivered by charity Living Streets for another year[1], through the WOW – year-round walk to school challenge in primary schools. This sees walking rates jump by an average of 23 per cent and reduces congestion outside school gates by an average of 30%.

This fund will affect schools in the following local authority areas, as partners of Living Streets on the project; Birmingham City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Merseytravel, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and West Midlands Combined Authority.

Walking rates to primary schools have dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. We want every child who can, to walk to school so the extension of the Walk to School Outreach project is a step in helping us achieve this goal. Walking to school helps children build healthy habits for life, reduces congestion and air pollution around schools, improving safety and gives families quality time before and after school. Through our WOW challenge, we successfully change behaviour and interventions like this, along with a number of other actions that we’ve recently outlined in our Swap the School Run for a School Walk report will really change the lifestyles and health of future generations to come

Joe Irvin, Living Streets CEO

Today, just 53 per cent of primary school children walk to school, compared with 70 per cent a generation ago. This correlates with figures showing that a third of children leave primary school overweight or obese and just one in five primary school children meet the recommended physical activity levels every day.

The Government outlined in the Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy that they will work towards having 55 per cent of primary school children walking to school by 2025.

 

[1] The WTSO fund was created for the year 2017/2018. This announcement is an extension of this fund

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