Families across the UK are being asked to comment on their walk to school throughout October’s International Walk to School Month to help build up a picture of our streets.
Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, hopes to use the month to identify the barriers which prevent families from walking to school, with the help of their ‘Rate Your Walk’ online tool.
A generation ago, over 70 per cent of primary school aged children walked to school. Now it’s dropped to around half, with nearly a quarter of morning peak traffic being families on the school run. The side effects being congested roads and poor air quality, with air pollution responsible for 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK.
Living Streets will aim to provide solutions to the problems identified so families are encouraged to walk more, helping children stay healthy and take steps in the fight against dirty air surrounding our schools.
Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“Motor traffic is the biggest cause of air pollution and so encouraging people to walk their short everyday journeys, such as the walk to school, is a big part of the solution to this growing problem.
“Encouraging children to be active every day also helps them maintain a healthy weight and develop healthy habits for life, which will stave off chronic health conditions in the future.”
Living Streets runs WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge, in schools across the UK. WOW has been shown to increase walking rates by 23 per cent with a corresponding drop in cars around the school gates.
Joe Irvin continues:
“Walk to school initiatives, park and stride schemes and walking zones are all successful ways of reducing pollution and congestion, with the added benefits of helping children stay physically active.
“With the potential to improve air quality, reduce congestion, improve our children’s health, as well as help them develop road safety skills, independence and opportunities to socialise – we need to enable and encourage more children to walk to school.“
Living Streets will be sharing ideas on how to make the walk to school easier and safer throughout the month: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/iwtsm
Keep an eye on Living Streets’ International Walk to School Month celebrations and share pictures of your walk to school with @livingstreets on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #iwalktoschool