Support walk to school campaign, urges council

Published Friday, 6th October 2017

PARENTS and carers in Hartlepool are being urged to support an international campaign to encourage more children to walk to school.

International Walk to School Month is running throughout October and has received the backing of the Hartlepool Active Travel Hub, a Hartlepool Council-led initiative to promote sustainable forms of travel as an alternative to the car.

Tony Davison, the Council’s Sustainable Travel Officer who co-ordinates the work of the hub, said: “By driving to school less frequently or not at all, parents and carers can help to really make a difference.

“Fewer cars outside schools mean less congestion and improved air quality as a result of reduced vehicle exhaust emissions.

“Walking also brings obvious health benefits and children who walk tend to be more alert and ready to learn when they arrive at school.

“If walking all of the way to school is not feasible, we would ask people to consider driving only part of the way and completing their journey on foot.”

International Walk to School Month is also being supported by the national charity Living Streets, with whom Hartlepool Council has close links.

Chief Executive Joe Irvin said: “Motor traffic is the biggest cause of air pollution and so encouraging people to walk 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.”

Efforts to promote walking have also recently been boosted with the news that Hartlepool Council’s Road Safety Team has secured funding for a three-year programme of pedestrian training for local schoolchildren.

The funding is being provided by the Government’s Access Fund via the “Connect Tees Valley” programme managed by the Tees Valley Combined Authority which aims to promote and develop sustainable travel across the Tees Valley.

Tony Davison added: “The training programme links to the Government’s new Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which, amongst other things, aims to encourage more children aged 5-10 to walk to school.”

More information about International Walk to School Month is available at www.livingstreets.org.uk/international-walk-to-school-month To find out more about the work of the Hartlepool Active Travel Hub call (01429) 523259 or email tony.davison@hartlepool.gov.uk

Press release pr25716. October 5 2017.
Issued by Steve Hilton, Senior Public Relations Officer, on (01429) 284065.