Newham Council is asking pupils across the borough to let their feet (or wheels) do the talking for Walk to School Week (Monday 16 to Friday 20 May 2022).
Now in its 16th year, Walk to School Week, is an annual celebration of making the sustainable journey to school. The theme this year is #PowerUp! which is a five-day challenge to pupils to do at least 60 minutes of sustainable activity every day, and to learn the lessons of social, road safety, health and environment benefits of walking and sustainable travel.
During Walk to School Week, the Council will be visiting selected schools to highlight sustainable ways of enhancing the school journey and raising awareness of the benefits for pupils, parents and carers, the community and the planet.
Parents and carers who usually drive pupils to the school gates are being encouraged to ditch their vehicles, where possible, or even park further away and then walk and wheel to school. This will help ease congestion around the school, reduce air pollution and make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Newham has one of the highest percentages of under 18s in receipt of asthma medication in the UK, and this is directly related to poor air quality. Air pollution goes beyond pulmonary and respiratory implications for young children, it can also affect their cognitive development and susceptibility to depressive illnesses in later life.
Newham Council has already introduced measures to reduce air pollution and improve road safety in the borough, which include Healthy School Streets and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
The Healthy School Streets programme sees driving restrictions on roads around selected schools to reduce traffic and improve air quality. The first two phases, introduced in 2019 and 2021, saw a successful reduction of dangerous air pollution, with an average 32% drop in nitrogen dioxide in the mornings and 16% drop in the afternoon. The next phase will be introduced this summer, bringing the total of school areas to 25.
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods remove through traffic in residential areas to create safer and more inviting streets for residents to walk and cycle. The schemes have seen a decrease in speeds on roads, an increase in cycling trips, fewer injuries caused by traffic accidents and improvements in air quality.
For more on Healthy School Streets Healthy School Streets – Newham Council
For more on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Low traffic neighbourhoods – Newham Council
Newham Council is running free Cycle skills classes, group rides, Dr Bike and maintenance classes until the end of June. For more information and to book visit: www.cycleconfident.co.uk/newham