South Wales schools show the way forward in

Bike It project aiming to tripe number of pupils cycling to school by 2013

by Kevin Emery   September 25, 2009  

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Pupils from Blaenhonddan Primary School in Neath are leading the way in changing the way children travel to school. More than 80 kids have been taking to their bikes to celebrate a new term with their Sustrans Bike It Officer, Louise Powell.

Sustrans, the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity, is calling for an expansion of the Bike It project throughout Wales. This unique project is managed by Sustrans and it works with the whole school community to encourage and support pupils to choose the healthy and green way to get to school.

Currently there are more than 50 Bike It officers working in England and three in Wales, and each officer works with 12 schools for the minimum of one academic year and on average they double the levels of cycling each year.

Sustrans Bike It Officer Louise Powell said: “It is fantastic that the Assembly has backed the Bike It project so far, but if we are to meet the [Welsh] 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-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.”

Blaenhonddan Primary School is one of 12 Sustrans Bike It Schools in Neath Port Talbot. Locally, the project is supported by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Nationally, the project is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, Sustrans and the cycle industry through the Bike Hub.

Staff, parents and teachers who are interested in promoting cycling and walking in their school are encouraged to telephone the Sustrans School Travel Team on 0117 915 0100 for free information and advice.

Further information about Sustrans and Bike It is available from www.sustrans.org.uk.