Thousands of children across the UK are taking steps to reduce local air pollution by taking part in International Walk to School Month this October.
The campaign is being led in the UK by Living Streets – and the charity is encouraging families to leave the car at home for the school run and instead celebrate the benefits of walking and wheeling.
A generation ago, 70% of children walked to school but recent data released by the DfT shows that just 47% of 5-16 year olds in England currently walk to school – with the figure as low as 30% for children in the North East and North West.
In Scotland, 45% of children walk to school, and in Wales 44% either walk, wheel, cycle or scoot.
Living Streets is running a social media challenge for schools and families throughout October. Pupils are asked to choose an animal or natural habitat endangered by climate change and walk, wheel, scoot, cycle or park and stride to school to protect it.
Families and schools can then share their #WalkForTheWorld images on social media to be entered into a prize draw.
Stephen Edwards, interim chief executive at Living Streets, said: “Swapping our short car journeys for walking or wheeling is an easy way to reduce air pollution, fuel consumption and congestion, and the journey to school is a great place to start.
“One in four cars on the road at morning peak hours are on the school run, despite the vast majority of families living less than two miles from their nearest school.
“Choosing cleaner ways to travel will help improve the air we breathe and help children to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day needed to stay fit, healthy and happy.
“International Walk to School Month is an excellent opportunity for families to enjoy the benefits of walking to school.”