The Department for Transport (DfT) is releasing an additional £600,000 to encourage more primary school children to walk to school.
The funding will be given to Walk to School Outreach programme will be delivered by sustainable transport charity Living Streets for a further year via its WOW year-round walk to school challenge in primary schools.
The £620,000 funding builds on the DfT’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) priorities.
The Walk to School initiative has seen walking rates jump by an average of 23% and has reduced congestion outside school gates by an average of 30% since its inception.
The funding will affect a number of schools in the following local authority areas; who are partners with Living Streets on the initiative: Birmingham City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Merseytravel, West Midlands Combined Authority and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Living Streets chief executive officer Joe Irvin said: “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.”
Today, just 53% of primary school children walk to school, compared with 70% 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 are work committed towards having 55% of primary school children walking to school by 2025.
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