CHILDREN are being encouraged to walk to school in a bid to increase exercise and cut down on fuel emissions.
Hampshire County Council is working with the national charity, Living Streets, in a bid to persuade more pupils to walk part, or all, of the way to and from school. Based on the countrywide ‘Walk to School’ campaigns, two specialists from the charity will over the next three years work with primary and secondary schools in Hampshire to encourage them to revisit and update their travel plans.
Councillor Mel Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport, said: ‘In the UK, over half of primary school children do not walk to school regularly.
‘Although this is unavoidable in some cases, being driven to school every day can mean that children miss out on learning valuable lessons about road safety and how to keep themselves safe.
‘Leaving the car at home can save people money, increase their level of physical activity and help to reduce congestion and carbon emissions, particularly on roads in the vicinity of our schools.’
The charity has set initiatives which aim to motivate more parents and pupils to walk to school, such as its ‘WoW’ – Walk Once A Week – campaign for primary schools.
The charity officers will work with 122 primary schools and 26 secondary schools.
Locally these include Red Barn Primary School in Fareham, St John the Baptist Primary School in Titchfield, Sarisbury Infant School in Sarisbury Green, and Gosport schools Brune Park and Brockhurst Infants.
These schools have been selected because they have been identified as having the greatest potential to increase walking.
Here, many pupils are driven to school even though many of them live within walking distance.
A total of 11 local authorities made a successful bid for £4.8m from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund that will fund the project.