Over 80 pupils have ditched car travel in favour of bikes at Blaenhonddan Primary School in Neath, but much more must be done to hit children cycling to school targets set by the Welsh Assembly, according to Sustrans.
Louise Powell, instrumental in the uptake of cycling at Blaenhonddan Primary School, is one of only three Sustrans Bike It Officers in Wales (50 work in England). Each officer works with 12 schools for the minimum of one academic year, on average doubling the levels of cycling every year.
Sustrans said that the Welsh Assembly’s target of tripling the number of children cycling to school by 2013 will require more Bike It officers to work with local school communities to encourage pupils to cycle and walk to school. Bike It is funded in Wales by the Welsh Assembly Government, Sustrans and Bike Hub.
“It is fantastic that the Assembly has backed the Bike It project so far,” enthused Sustrans Bike It officer Louise Powell. “But if we are to meet the Assembly’s target of tripling the number of children cycling to school by 2013 we need to ensure pupils, parents and schools across the country have the kind of support that I can offer schools across the Neath Port Talbot area.
“We know that 38 per cent of five to 16 year olds are driven to school, which equates to more than 150,000 pupils in Wales. We must do what we can to bring this number down if we are to improve the local environment and the health of the nation’s children.”
Staff, parents and teachers interested in promoting cycling and walking in their school are encouraged to get in touch with the Sustrans School Travel Team on 0117 915 0100 for advice and information.