In just two weeks this spring, Reigate & Banstead school children reduced local air pollution by 22 kilogrammes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) by walking, biking and scootering to school, instead of travelling by car.
As part of cycling and walking charity Sustrans’ annual Big Pedal challenge, children from 13 local schools used human power for 8,611 journeys, making 43,055 miles.
Children at Holmesdale Community Infant School won special recognition from Sustrans for their Big Pedal achievements, completing 5,725 active journeys during the competition.
Teachers gave daily prizes and left a surprise note on a scooter during each day of the challenge.
Holmesdale teacher Mrs Austin said:
“Our school really enjoyed the Big Pedal. It increased the numbers of children arriving at school on bikes, scooters or walking, and children were happy to share how they had travelled to school with their classmates.
Coming to school under their own steam certainly seems to set children up for the day to be ready for their learning.
It has also been good to see that since Big Pedal, many children are continuing to come to school by bike, scooter or walking.”
The school recently celebrated their success at a special assembly, attended by the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Keith Foreman. He said:
“It’s brilliant to see schools getting involved in the Sustrans Big Pedal challenge. It clearly shows desire in the local community to walk and cycle more.
Incentives like this encourage families to travel more actively and I hope all those who took part can continue to make active travel choices in the future.”
Children taking part in the initiative helped prevent the emission of invisible pollutants such as nitrogen oxide which Sustrans says can cause breathing problems, reduce lung function and damage teeth, and carbon dioxide which is a major contributor to climate change.
This year’s Big Pedal Challenge ran 25 March – 5 April, and took place shortly after Public Health England called on local authorities to limit transport emissions, ban idling car engines around schools and invest in foot and cycle paths.