Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 00:19 UK

More children walking to school

Children walking to school
The charity believes walking to school makes children healthier

More Scottish children are now walking or cycling to school than travel by car, bus or taxi, a survey has shown.

The study of 400,000 pupils by sustainable transport charity Sustrans found 51.8% of them used active travel methods such as walking or cycling.

Of those questioned, 47.7% were driven by car or bus for all or part of their journey to school.

Sustrans said it was "very encouraging" so many pupils were choosing healthy, active ways of travelling to school.

The Hands Up survey was carried out by a network of school travel co-ordinators based within 29 of Scotland's 32 local authorities, and will be undertaken on an annual basis.

It indicated that 2.8% of pupils cycled to work, with 48.3% walking.

Where money is spent on making walking and cycling safer or easier, the number of children walking and cycling increases
William Methven

In comparison, 27.6% were driven by car and 18.7% took a bus.

The results of the survey were made public as Sustrans published the end of year report for its Tackling the School Run programme of projects aimed at encouraging cycling and walking at 103 schools across Scotland.

Sustrans was given £3.8m of funding by the Scottish Government in 2007/08 to deliver practical measures, such as cycle paths and cycle storage facilities for schools, as well as education campaigns for school children and their teachers.

The charity said its research showed the number of children travelling to school by bicycle or on foot rises sharply where money was invested in promoting active travel to school.

'Positive impact'

This, it said, had a knock-on positive effect on local traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as children's health.

William Methven, Sustrans' manager for school travel in Scotland, said: "The results from our Tackling the School Run programme and the Hands Up survey are very encouraging.

"We are pleased to see that the work we have been doing in partnership with school travel coordinators and the Scottish Government is having a positive impact on the way Scottish school children are travelling.

"It is now very clear that, where money is spent on making walking and cycling safer or easier, the number of children walking and cycling increases."

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