Children in Wales should have the right to walk or cycle to school

8 December 2015

Sustrans Cymru is calling for the next Welsh Government to transform the way children travel to school.

On the day the Children’s Commissioner launches a report showing that almost half (48%) of primary school children in Wales would like more help to be able to walk, cycle and scoot to school, the charity is calling on all the Welsh political parties to pledge their support to an ambitious programme to help make our children happier and healthier. We want to change the school run and build physical activity into the life skills taught to our children.

Sustrans Cymru wants the new government in 2016 to:

  • Make a commitment to “every child a cyclist”. Cycling should be a core skill for children in Wales, delivered through the physical literacy area of the national curriculum and the new curriculum arising from Donaldson’s Successful Futures. 
     
  • Put in place a long term investment strategy to develop safe walking and cycling routes, particularly to and around schools, 
     
  • Enable every school to be engaged as part of the Active Travel Act, with mapped routes to all schools as part of the Integrated Network Maps
     
  • Support an increased number of 20mph areas across our communities – delivered by local councils in the short-term.  Slower vehicle speeds on the journey from home to school are key to increasing active travel to schools.
     

Only 35% of Welsh children are getting the recommended hour of physical activity that they need every day. Numerous scientific reports have demonstrated that physical inactivity leads to life-threatening diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Sustrans Cymru believes that the Assembly Elections in 2016 represent a crucial time to prioritise children’s health and wellbeing. Walking or cycling the school run is an obvious and effective way for children to become more physically active every day, and brings with it a range of other benefits to our economy, communities and environment.

Jane Lorimer, National Director for Sustrans Cymru said:

‘The Active Travel Act has given Wales the opportunity to transform itself into a country where walking and cycling are the most natural and normal ways of getting around. We believe the starting point for this must be our children. Giving children the support they need to walk or cycle to school on a regular basis could radically change Wales’ position as the least physically active nation in the UK.


We are writing to all Assembly Members to ask them to support our campaign to make the school run healthier, safer and happier.’

 

The full Sustrans policy document can be found on the website at www.sustrans.org.uk/walesactivetravel

Follow @SustransCymru for more updates on this campaign.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Children's Commissioner's report: School Journeys can be accessed here: http://www.childcomwales.org.uk/en/school-journeys/