Leave the car at home and walk, cycle or scoot to school this month

Families in Buckinghamshire are being invited to swap their cars for bicycles, scooters or simply their own two feet this month as part of a range of national initiatives to encourage greener travel.

Bike to School Week draws to a close today. Organised by the national charity Sustrans, the scheme forms part of a wider initiative to encourage greater use of greener travel methods for short journeys. Cycling is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air. By leaving the car at home, it is also better for the environment, helping to reduce carbon emissions and create cleaner air.

If cycling is not your thing or you don’t have bikes, walking is another option. Walk to School Week runs from 5 to 9 October. Once again, choosing to walk instead of jump in the car has many of the same benefits as cycling. October is International Walk to School Month and Thursday 8 October is Clean Air Day.

Buckinghamshire Council works closely with schools all year round to promote sustainable travel. This work includes promoting and supporting schemes including the Modeshift Stars Education programme which encourages schools to develop their own sustainable travel plans, Bikeability cycle training and the Junior Road Safety Officer scheme.

Nick Naylor, Cabinet Member for Transportation said: “It’s so easy to get into the habit of dropping the kids off to school in the car every day. We know it’s not possible for everyone to cycle or walk to school but for those who can we would urge you to give it a go.

“We all have a responsibility not just for our own health and the health of our children but also the health of the planet. By opting to use sustainable forms of transport such as walking and cycling as much as possible, we can help ensure we are all doing our bit.”

Clive Harriss, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cycling Champion and Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure added: “More than anything, cycling can be fun. It’s the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy together, not just on the way to and from school, but at weekends and in the holidays too. You don’t need a lot of special equipment, just a helmet, a suitable bike and a sense of adventure!

“Buckinghamshire has some fantastic family friendly walking and cycling routes across the whole county and we are working on new initiatives to support the Government’s commitment to encourage more and more people to choose active travel.

Cllr Harriss added: “No-one need miss out as there are numerous second-hand bikes at our Household Waste & Recycling Centres, some in full working order. The revenue from the sales goes to charity so nothing is wasted and many will gain.”

This week the Government has announced £2m of funding to support schools in promoting walking and cycling schemes. The money will be used for initiatives such as setting up bike repair workshops in primary schools and local communities and also looking at ways to the tackle barriers that may prevent children and their families walking to and from school.

Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: “This new funding is fantastic news for schools and families. We want to encourage as many families as possible to swap the car for walking or cycling to and from school. As well as being beneficial to the environment, both activities are good for our health and can count towards the 30 mins of recommended daily activity for adults.

“While many are keen there are often barriers to them being able to take part but this funding will help and alongside the many initiatives we as a council are implementing, we hope to see many more parents, carers and children out on two wheels and two feet on the school run.”