Children ‘not allowed 
to walk to school 
amid car speed fears’

Tony ArmstrongTony Armstrong
Tony Armstrong
Many parents do not let their children walk to school because they are fearful about speeding cars, a charity said.

Living Streets called on local authorities to implement lower speed limits after 36 per cent of parents said they would prevent their child walking to school because they are worried about fast cars.

The charity said that parents cited busy roads and poor walking infrastructure as other common barriers which prevent them from letting their children walk to school.

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The Living Streets poll of 1,000 parents of primary school children, released at the start of Walk To School Week, found that a quarter automatically drive their children to school without even considering walking.

Latest data from the National Travel Survey show that the number of primary school children who walk to school is declining – down from 53 per cent in 1995 to 49 per cent in 2011.

A charity spokeswoman said national walking rates should stand at at least 50 per cent.

Living Streets’ chief executive Tony Armstrong said: “The overwhelming majority of our grans and granddads walked to school, but over generations we are seeing a steady decline to the point where it seems a fifth of parents wouldn’t even think about ensuring their child walks to school.

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“Meanwhile obesity rates have more than doubled, even since I walked to school just 20-odd years ago.

“Where Government has supported schools and parents with the walk to school, we’ve seen walking rates increase by up to 33 per cent, but this is woefully short of what’s needed.”

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “We share Living Streets’ desire to get more children walking to school and the Department for Transport has a good track record in this area.”

He said the Government’s £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund “has supported schemes up and down the country, many of which include elements which make it easier for children to walk or cycle to school”.