Sustrans, the charity behind the National Cycle Network and Safe Routes to Schools, has recently completed hundreds of Links to Schools - traffic-free walking and cycling routes that link over 20,000 children to their schools via the National Cycle Network.
Cycling England has now given £2 million towards further Links to Schools to be completed during 2006, and Sustrans is in the process of selecting schools that are keen to get a Link in place. Many more schools have requested Links than there is funding for.
Over 300 schools have so far benefited from Links to Schools. They give children safe and attractive walking and cycling routes to encourage them to travel more actively to school, and also give parents the confidence to let their children get to school independently. At a time when childhood obesity, school run congestion and pollution around schools are of increasing concern, Links to Schools is providing a cost-effective solution to some of these problems.
Sustrans' Research and Monitoring Unit is collating the impact of the links since completion, to evaluate the benefits to children, their parents and their communities. Overwhelmingly, the results are showing that more children are using the paths to get to school, as well as using them for other kinds of journeys including commuting, shopping and outings to the countryside.
Sustrans will be releasing more detailed analysis of the benefits of the first Links to Schools and the impact of the programme over the coming months.
To find out more and for further information visit www.sustrans.org.uk