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Sustrans launches new resource to promote sustainable travel

L-R: Mayoress NPT, Mayor NPT, Roger Dutton Active Journeys Officer, Sustrans Cymru Director Christine Boston, pupils - active journeys crew, Head of Lower school Mrs Kath Palmer, Deputy Minister Lee Waters MS.

Transport charity Sustrans has launched a new schools resource, developed in line with the new Welsh curriculum, to promote awareness of walking, wheeling, and cycling as modes of travel among learners across Wales.

Last academic year, Sustrans’ work with students across Wales helped to increase the level of walking, wheeling, and cycling by 24.6% and decreased car use by 29.9% on the school run.

A launch event took place at Ysgol Bae Baglan on Friday 21st October, with Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters MS, Mayor Robert Wood, and Mayoress Sylvia John attending.

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, said: “We need to establish early the habit of jumping on a bike rather than jumping in a car for short local journeys.”

“When you ask children how they’d like to get to school they invariably say they want to walk or cycle, but few of them do.”

“We must remove the barriers to active travel and work with families to encourage more people to travel to school in a healthy way, and this toolkit will help.”

Sustrans Cymru Director, Christine Boston, will also be present and will speak on the importance of this new educational resource, the Sustrans Active Travel Curriculum Resource for schools all across Wales.

Hayley Keohane, Curriculum and Communications Co-ordinator at Sustrans, spoke of the need for this kind of resource: “The new resource, aimed mainly at primary school teachers, is a way of embedding active and sustainable travel into Welsh education.”

“Active and sustainable travel links well to the four purposes of the new Welsh curriculum.”

“It helps pupils consider the environmental as well as the physical and mental health benefits of walking, wheeling, and cycling, leading to healthy and confident individuals.”

Choosing to travel actively and sustainably plays an important role in the fight against climate change and reducing air pollution by lessening the number of cars that are on our school streets.

Previous research releases shows that walking, wheeling, and cycling is great for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as well as parents and teachers.

The aim of this new resource that’s suited for Years 4-6 is to change attitudes and behaviours towards more active travel choices, as well as building the capacity of teachers to plan and deliver cross-curricular skills within the context of walking, wheeling, and cycling.

Most children live close enough to walk, wheel or cycle to school – 81% of households are within 800m of a primary school – but we know that less than a third of people across the UK think that the level of safety for children to cycle is good.

These findings underline the need, alongside Welsh Government’s continued commitment to improved active travel infrastructure across Wales, for greater education on the value and practicality of walking, wheeling, and cycling among children and young people.

For any schools interested in applying to join the Sustrans Active Journeys programme, which is funded thanks to Welsh Government, applications are now open to get support for creating a culture that makes it easier for children throughout Wales to walk, wheel, and cycle.