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Sustrans celebrate 15 years of Big Walk and Wheel

Next month, Sustrans will be celebrating the 15th birthday of their Big Walk and Wheel, the UK’s biggest inter-school walking, wheeling, scooting and cycling to school competition.

1,598 schools have already registered, with over half a million pupils (522,702) taking part.

On each day of the challenge, which runs from 11th-22nd March, schools compete to see who can get the highest percentage of their pupils walking, using a wheelchair, scooting or cycling to school. Any schools from which more than 15% of pupils use active travel will be entered into a daily prize draw for appropriate prizes.

Since data collection for the challenge began 13 years ago, 23.9 million miles  have been travelled by pupils taking over 15.9 million active travel journeys to school. Sustrans have done the sums and inform us that this is equivalent to around 200 trips to the moon, or over 1,900 journeys around the Earth.

Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans, said: ‘I am proud that together with thousands of partnering schools, and millions of parents and children across the UK we are able to celebrate 15 years of the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel. Together we have saved 12,700 tonnes of CO2 from the nearly 32 million costly cars journeys that would have happened without this challenge, and added smiles to the school run for families across the UK.

‘People want to have a choice in how they travel, and 15 years of the Big Walk and Wheel shows that when people are given the opportunity to travel actively – they will take it. Sustrans will continue to work in partnership with others to ensure that every generation of children can choose to have fun walking, wheeling and cycling to school.’

Last year, nearly 2.7 million active journeys were made to and from schools, saving an estimated 1,890 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to the journeys having been made by car. 

It is also estimated that parents save around £1.6million in petrol costs during the fortnight.

Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel is open to all primary and secondary schools in the UK, including SEN/ASN/ALN schools who can find a link to register here.

Free resources are available to encourage pupils to help reduce air pollution and learn about the benefits of active travel for themselves, their school, their neighbourhood, and the whole planet.

National Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said: ‘The Sustrans Walk and Wheel challenge gives kids and their parents a reason to try travelling differently, to get to school under their own steam and in doing so, they get a taste of what a healthier and greener future can be like. In fact, it’s proved so popular for thousands of communities, it continues to go from strength to strength. We want to make it more than an annual event, we want this to become a normal part of every school day for millions, and by the looks of it, so do the kids.’

Tim Ward – Marketing Manager of headline sponsors Schwalbe Tyres UK said: ‘In our third year supporting the Sustrans Big Walk & Wheel, we are very pleased to be associated with this amazing initiative in its 15th anniversary year. As long-term advocates of using a bicycle as transport, we at Schwalbe know only too well how important the simple thrill travelling by bike is for children. Giving them the opportunity to experience the benefits of cycling by simply riding to school, helps to develop an appreciation of sustainable transport that is crucial for the future. These values echo our purpose as a company, with our ever-accelerating journey towards increased levels of recycling and sustainable product manufacturing. Here’s to the next 15 years!’

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