Children asked to save the world - by walking or cycling to school

Pupils from Tullygally Primary at a recent active travel event in the school, included is principal Ms Andrews.
Pupils from Tullygally Primary at a recent active travel event in the school, included is principal Ms Andrews.

Local schoolchildren are being asked to do their bit to save the planet - by walking or taking their bike to school.

A recent report suggests that summer holidays have cost parents around £600 and the bill for the new school year stands at around £400 including uniforms, shoes, lunch pack, PS kit, school bag, coat and even a laptop or tablet!

Now a group set up to promote sustainable transport alternatives is suggesting a money saving measure that can help save the environment.

They said one very simple idea that can really reduce the cost of getting the kids back to school is to leave the car behind!

The first day back to school is the ideal opportunity to start the new routine/habit of getting the kids walking, cycling or scooting to school instead of sitting in the ever frustrating line of traffic outside the school gates.

Not only does an increase in active travel to school reduce the volume of traffic on the roads, it is a proven way to benefit physical and mental health, pupils arrive to school more alert and ready to learn, it encourages independence, there is less environmental impact, the kids have fun on the journey and it saves parents money by greatly reducing fuel costs!

Of course there are some families who live quite far away from school and walking, scooting or cycling from home may seem impossible. One way to overcome this is to participate in a park and stride/ride – drive part of the way to school, park up somewhere safe (petrol station, shops, car park) and walk or scoot the remaining ten minutes. Parents can of course walk with their children and enjoy some free exercise too.

Sustrans Active Travel Officer in the South Eastern area Dave Wiggins said, “Some schools are already providing many opportunities for their pupils to actively travel to and from school each morning and afternoon - organising walking buses where pupils meet up at a location and walk in together, taking part in inter class cycling and scooting competitions, having whole school active travel days, providing loyalty stamp cards and anything which encourages pupils out of the car and onto their own two feet. The benefits are huge.”

Applications are now being received for the Sustrans Active Travel Schools Programme which supports schools to increase the number of pupils cycling, walking and scooting to school. For more information or for an application pack please email schoolsni@sustrans.org.uk or ring 028 9043 4569.