Active travel charities in Scotland are calling on parents to rethink the school run, as pupils return to the classrooms after a five-month absence.
Sustrans, Cycling Scotland, Living Streets, Paths for All, and Forth Environment Link are asking parents to make a positive change, by encouraging their children to travel to school in greener, healthier ways.
The call follows the publication of the annual Hands Up Scotland Survey in June, which found that the number of pupils being driven to school was at its highest level in 2019.
The charities also point to the fact that in times of social distancing, leaving the car at home will help to avoid crowding at the school gates.
Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “Children and families often want to walk to school and will do so where the streets feel safe and pleasant, and not dominated by cars.
“Now, as schools begin to return for the new term, we have an opportunity to make walking to school the natural choice for families across Scotland.”
The call is supported by Scotland’s active nation commissioner, Lee Craigie, as well as the Royal College for Paediatrics & Child Health Scotland and the British Lung Foundation.
Lee Craigie said: “We are all driven to protect the people we love. We are also hard wired to save ourselves time and effort. But driving our kids to schools is one of the most dangerous false economies we invent.
“By removing the simple daily pleasure of walking, cycling or wheeling to school, we miss the opportunity to instil in our kids patterns of everyday active behaviour that will improve and prolong their lives. Who doesn’t want that for the people they love?”