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Parents angry over 'eco-school' decision...

Parents of children at a primary school in Wales have criticised the school for banning pupils from riding to school and planning to remove the school bike shed to make room for increased staff parking.

Ceri Jeffries, who has three ten-year-olds at the school in Risca, Newport, told the South Wales Argus that she was shocked by the decision of the “eco-friendly” school.

Mrs Jeffries said her children normally rode in a group with four other children, but were now forbidden from taking their bikes on to the school grounds. That means they would have to chain them up outside the school.

She said: “The school is an eco-friendly school but has decided that children are no longer allowed to cycle to and from school, even though children have been doing this for years, including myself as a child.”

According to Mrs Jeffries, teachers had given safety concerns as the reason for the ban, but she said the number of cars near the school was at least as big a problem.

Mrs Jeffries said: “As you can imagine this has upset quite a lot of children and their parents. Childhood obesity is on the rise and promoting healthy eating and exercise is a must. What better way to promote this by encouraging children to cycle to school and by doing so reducing the amount of cars, making it safer for children and the environment?”

Mrs Jeffries said she had been told the school’s bike shed was to be removed to make way for extra staff parking.

That’s also the understanding of Rachel Guy, who has two children at the school, who said she had spoken to head teacher Jayne Arthur about the policy.

Mrs Guy said: “I said to Mrs Arthur, "It’s absolutely ridiculous." She said it’s a health and safety issue.

“My kids rode yesterday, to make a stand really. I’m hoping they haven’t been told off.”

Head teacher Jayne Arthur said: “We are currently working alongside the council’s Road Safety and Health and Safety teams to review the situation and complete risk assessment and traffic survey of the school site. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our pupils remains our utmost priority, and we are seeking to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.