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£2bn cash boost to get kids cycling and walking to school

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Written by: Emma Lunn
28/09/2020
The government has announced a scheme to get more students and their families physically active.

The new funding aims to get more children riding their bike or walking to school, coinciding with Bike to School week which begins today.

The programme will see cycle repair workshops set up in primary schools and local neighbourhoods to make sure students’ bikes are fit for the road.

‘Doctor Bike’ clinics will be rolled out next month, targeting areas where children, including those with disabilities, are more likely to need support in getting their bikes roadworthy for regular use on the school run.

The government says being physically active, such as cycling or walking to school, cuts the risk of developing health issues and helps kids to be more alert and ready to learn.

A further £1m has been announced to boost the number of children walking to school. The Walk to School Outreach Programme – which has already generated 4 million new walking trips – is being extended to roll out further measures to support walking.

This includes tackling the barriers that may prevent children and their families choosing to walk to and from school, as well as providing schools with classroom materials and access to local coordinators who can help schools get new walking initiatives up and running.

Chris Heaton-Harris, cycling and walking minister, says: “Cycling and walking is good for people and the planet’s health, so we want half of all journeys to be cycled or walked by 2030. To do that, we must encourage young people to see cycling and walking as normal as getting the bus or train.

“This funding will support schools and local communities to get more children walking to school, and set up bike surgeries that will help children get their bikes ready to roll, so they can start their day healthy and happy.”

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, says: “We’re delighted to be able to run Bike to School Week again this year, after what has been a time of great uncertainty for all families across the country.

“Our new research shows that the majority of UK parents support changes that have already been made to the streets and places in their local area to make walking and cycling to school easier. It has also identified that interventions, such as cycle routes separated from road traffic, safer junctions and cycling training would help families travel actively to school more.

“It’s fantastic that the UK government is recognising the role walking and cycling projects can play in helping families travel in a way that is good for their health and for the environment.”

The funding comes during Bike to School Week (28 September to 2 October) and ahead of Walk to School Week (5 October to 9 October). It’s part of a wider plan to create safer streets for cycling and walking, backed by £2bn in government investment.

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