To celebrate International Walk to School month this October, we’ve teamed up with UK charity Living Streets to highlight their Walk to School campaign that encourages children to get active and help the environment. Here Kathryn Shaw, Communications and Media Manager at Living Streets shares how you and your children can get involved by walking to school.
During October, pupils walking to school are being part of a global movement to clean up our air, improve road safety and get more active by ditching the car for International Walk to School Month.
At Living Streets (the UK charity behind the walk to school campaign), we are leading the celebrations, with thousands of children taking to their feet to enjoy the many benefits of walking to school.
Why walk to school?
Walking to school is an easy way for children and their families to fit more activity into a day, helping at a time when the majority of adults and children fail to meet the recommended number of active minutes needed to stay fit and healthy.
At the same time, road transport is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, emitting a huge 125 million tonnes of CO2 every year. At morning peak, one in four cars on the road1 are on the school run – it’s no surprise that the World Health Organisation2 recommends walking to school as a primary way for people to reduce their carbon emissions.
At Living Streets, we believe that walking everyday needs to be part of the solution to the climate emergency; it’s the healthiest, most environmentally friendly way to make short journeys. And according to our latest research, children agree too – with many of them saying they’d walk to school to protect the planet.
Last year, 58% of children killed on our roads were pedestrians. We need to make our streets safer for children walking, with measures which protect children, such as lower speed limits and better crossings. By enabling and encouraging more families to walk to school, we can reduce the number of cars on our roads and improve safety for everyone.
Why we WOW
Living Streets works to encourage and enable as many children as possible to walk to school. Our free Family Walk to School Kit is designed to help parents, carers and children make the walk to school work for them.
However, our biggest successes are from the intensive work we do directly with schools and local authorities to address barriers which are preventing families from walking to school. Whether that’s chaos around the school gates, unsafe speeds or time pressures – we work to find bespoke, effective solutions for them.
A generation ago, 70% of us walked to school - now it’s around half – but this isn’t the case in the 2,000 plus schools which take part in WOW – our year-round walk to school challenge. At the end of the 2018/19 academic year, just 15% of journeys logged on our WOW Travel Tracker were driven, significantly lower than the national average of 41%.
Join Living Streets in swapping the school run for a school walk this October by encouraging your child’s school to prioritise the walk to school. Find out more HERE