Greater Manchester Health Commission seeks to limit parking to promote walking and cycling

Health chiefs in Manchester have called on parents to be banned from parking close to schools in an effort to combat rising levels of child obesity by promoting healthier travel options such as cycling and walking, which have been widely recognised.

Increasing the number of children getting to school under their own steam is widely recognised as a key weapon in the battle against Britain's growing childhood obesity problem,  giving rise to initiatives such as Safe Routes To Schools.

Greater Manchester Health Commission has recommended to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities that residents-only parking zones be introduced close to schools as a means of encouraging parents to let their children make the switch.

The Press Association quoted Peter Elton, director of public health for NHS Bury, as saying: "Our view is that there are no miracle cures but we need to introduce more activities to reverse this growing problem.

"Rates of obesity in children have consistently been going up in recent years and that is storing up problems for the future.

"I would think a lot of parents would like to do this and let their children at least walk the last bit to school.
He added: "There is also a safety aspect by avoiding build-ups in traffic and the high density of smoke from cars parked up outside the school."

Recent statistics show that as much as 10% of four- and five-year-olds in Greater Manchester are obese, rising to 18% of 10- and 11-year-olds. Projections are that by 2020, at least 1.7 million people in the region will be classified as obese.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.