Kids Go Green

15th June 2001
news
release

Green Transport Week: Day 5

Q. WHAT HAS 44 LEGS IS 30 FEET LONG AND GREEN?
A. THE WALKING SCHOOL BUS!

On the final day of Green Transport Week (1), Friday 15 June, Manchester Friends of the Earth are promoting a safe, fun, & green option for children travelling to school – the “Walking School Bus”. A “Walking School Bus” is a group of school children walking two abreast between a parent “driver” and “conductor”, children are picked up from their homes just as they would be by a “real” school bus.

Manchester FoE campaigner and Pedestrian Association vice chair Sandra Dutson will be joining school children making their way to a school in Eccles via this innovative transport mode.

Several “Walking School Bus” schemes are now operating nationwide, the initiative being actively encouraged by central government. It’s not hard to see why. In 1970, 80% of children walked to school. Incredibly, this has now reduced to under 10% for the year 2000 [2]. This dependency on the “parental lift” has been blamed at least in part for causing some respiratory diseases, obesity and heart problems.

Sandra Dutson said:
“Initiatives to tackle the environmental, safety & congestion problems caused by the massive increase of children being given lifts to school are long overdue. Whilst we are all concerned about the risks facing children in modern society, walking buses present an ideal and safe opportunity for children to become more independent and enjoy a healthier lifestyle, and treat the planet better too!”

In many cases driving children to school is also not justifiable. The average distance to primary school is 1.5 miles and 64% trips undertaken by car for primary school children are between 1 and 2 miles. A staggering 56% of those parents taking their children to school immediately return home [3].

Information on setting up a walking school bus is available from Friends of the Earth [4] and the local group are keep to hear from, and help, any local schools or parents set one up in their area. Manchester FoE can be contacted on 0161 834 8221.

ENDS

For More Information
Sandra Dutson: 07790 040 513
Michael Bane, Campaigns Coordinator, Manchester FoE:
0161 275 6134 (w) / 07 947 606 950 (m)

Notes to Editors
1. Green Transport Week (9-16 June) is promoted by the Environmental Transport Association and Manchester FoE are organising a media event each weekday (11-15 June). Press releases for each event are available from http://www.mcrfoe.dabsol.co.uk/.
2. Pedestrian Association figures.
3. From Dept. Environment, Transport and Regions (http://www.detr.gov.uk/)

. Publication “A safe way for children to walk to school” (ISBN 1 85750 334) £3.50.
Tel: 020 7490 1555

Notes for Photo Editors
Manchester FoE Transport Campaigner Sandra Dutson will be available for photographs and interviews as she walks with the “Bus” along with Michele Jennings learning mentor at Barton Moss Primary School, Trippier road, Peel Green, Eccles. The “Bus” departs from the school at 8.20am and returns at 8.45am.