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Environment correspondent Robert Piggott
"School run estimated to account for 20% of journeys"
 real 28k

Saturday, 8 April, 2000, 04:26 GMT 05:26 UK
School run blamed for pollution
Child leaving car
Unsafe roads lead parents to drive children
Education Secretary David Blunkett has called for more children to get on their bike after revealing that the "school run" was responsible for almost a third of traffic pollution.

He called for an end to "the vicious cycle in which unsafe roads lead parents to prefer driving their children to school", saying 24,000 people were now estimated to die prematurely each year because of air pollution.

And he said children should be encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport.

Education had a critical role to play in ensuring that youngsters learned to protect and respect the world in which they were growing up, Mr Blunkett told a conference in London organised by the Labour Environment Campaign.

Spending warning

"Education can do more than anything to move us away from the image of environmental protection as a fringe, liberal issue to being a core concern across society," he said.

"To this end, citizenship will be a new national curriculum subject from September 2002."

But the Executive Director of the RAC Foundation, Edmund King, said changing people's habits would cost money.

"If you look at America, millions of dollars are pumped into the school bus, which makes parents rely on the bus rather their own cars.

"We are not spending that sort of money in the UK on the school bus.,

"You must have the infrastructure in place first and that probably means more money being spent on more buses, safer routes to school and more supervision for children."

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03 Apr 00 | UK
School bus safety fears
24 Feb 00 | Education
Parent attacks religious bus ban
13 Jan 00 | Education
Bus fares cut call for schools
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