The results of the annual National Travel Survey show the number of children walking to primary school is at the lowest figure ever. This is despite a small increase in walking trips for all ages.

Living Streets wants the Government to take action to reverse this decline and get our children walking more.

Where 70 per cent of primary school children in the 1970s used to walk to school, less than half of today’s pupils (48 per cent[1]) usually do so. Such a decline impacts on children’s health, air quality, traffic congestion and road safety.

Children walking together outside school gates

With a looming health crisis among children, everyday walking to school is a major part of the solution. It’s free and accessible and we know from the schools we work with that the recent decline in walking rates can be reversed. We urge the Government, schools and parents to join us in enabling more pupils to walk to school and give children the best start in life.

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy & Communications, Living Streets

The Government recently committed to setting a target to increase the number of children walking to school in the Childhood Obesity Strategy. Living Streets welcomed this commitment and now looks forward to seeing further details in the forthcoming Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy.

Living Streets’ Walk to School campaign supports over one million children in 4,000 schools to walk more through national schemes and events including WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge and Walk to School Week, making it one of the UK's leading behaviour change campaigns for young people. The charity also supports International Walk to School Month each October.

Through Living Streets’ WOW year-round walk to school challenge, schools see a 23 per cent increase in the number of children walking to school, which in turn reduces congestion outside school gates – good for both improving health and reducing pollution.

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/551437/national-travel-survey-2015.pdf

National Travel Survey commissioned by the Department for Transport. Figures released 8 September 2016.