Schoolchildren are putting their best foot forward this week as more than 52 primary schools take part in Walk to School Week, 95 per cent of the borough’s primaries.
Almost 25,000 children will be stepping out in Waltham Forest during this national week of action and challenge themselves to walk up to a mile a day.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We know walking to school can make a big impact on a child’s day. Being active can improve mood and focus in the classroom and playground, and helps combat the growing obesity crisis among children.
“Also by encouraging more pupils to walk to school it will help to ease congestion and air pollution on our streets. We know that in Waltham Forest we’re making big strides to encourage people to choose more active and sustainable modes of transport in residential neighbourhoods and we want to continue making an impact on improving the life chances and air quality for all our residents.”
Across the country less than half of primary school children walk to school, but in Waltham Forest the majority of schools have a catchment area of less than a mile, a walk of less than 20 minutes.
A report by King’s College London published last year found that in 2013, 14 per cent of emissions in the borough between 8am and 9am were due to the school run. However due to the impacts of the council’s walking and cycling improvements as well as work with schools there could be an estimated seven per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.
Pupils taking part in the week are also being encouraged to design a banner for their school to encourage more pupils, parents and staff to walk to school. The pupil with the winning design will see their banner produced for their school.
The month of May is also National Walking Month and following the training of an extra 20 walk leaders in recent months Waltham Forest Council has expanded the number of Feel Good Walks available in the borough. These walks take place throughout the week at various locations across the borough.
For more information about local walks visit: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder/waltham-forest