Children, teachers and parents are being encouraged to travel to school by bike, foot or scooter as part of a national campaign.
Organised by the walking and cycling charity Sustrans and backed by Staffordshire County Council, the Big Pedal starts today (25 March) and will run up to Friday 5 April. During the 10 days, participating schools will compete with one another to make the most journeys by bike, foot or scooter.
The campaign comes hot on the heels of the Staffordshire schools cycling competition. This saw over 752 children from nine schools, working with an air quality school travel adviser, cycle a total distance of 432.8 kilometres in 18 hours.
Helen Fisher, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council said:
“We’ve been working closely with schools over the last few years to encourage more parents and their children to walk to school and we’re very excited about this year’s Big Pedal.
“Our cycling competition last week was also a huge success and a fantastic effort by everyone involved.
“We hope that encouraging our children to walk, cycle and scoot to school through all our campaigns we will see a huge reduction in congestion and pollution around the school gates, as well as help them to feel healthier and happier.”
New research shows four in ten children are breathing toxic air at school, leaving pupils at an increased risk of developing lifelong conditions including asthma. Studies also show that walking and cycling can play a key role in improving air quality outside the school gates while helping to boost children’s activity levels.
Staffordshire continues to lead the way when it comes to encouraging more parents and children to actively travel to school with over 60 Walking Buses across the county.
Scooter training, Bikeability, ‘Park and Stride’ schemes and the Staffordshire STARS project working with schools are also helping to improve physical health, air quality and easing congestion outside school gates.
Staffordshire schools set to take part in the Big Pedal include:
• Coton Green Primary School, Tamworth
• Eton Park Junior, Burton on Trent
• Heath Hayes Primary Academy, Heath Hayes
• John Wheeldon Primary Academy, Stafford
People can find out more about active school travel in Staffordshire at https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/transport/Stafford/Schools/Schools.asp