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Call to cut school run car journeys

Tue, 17 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0700

A 10% CUT in school run car journeys would boost Britain's economy by around £46 million a year, a sustainable transport charity has claimed.

Sustrans, which is calling on the Government to formally recognise the right of every child to be able to walk or cycle to school safely, estimates that ferrying children to school by car accounts for 24% of peak time traffic.

Using Department for Transport modelling to calculate the financial drain on business caused by rush-hour congestion, Sustrans estimated that a 14% reduction in car use for school runs would take 167,000 vehicles off the road with an annual "saving" of £66.2 million.

Commenting on the study, Sustrans' head of policy Claire Francis said: "Traffic congestion costs the UK economy billions, impacting the cost of food, services and wages as well as driving up fuel consumption.

"Many of the 11.8 million car journeys made between home and school each day could be avoided - only 8% are part of a longer trip to work, while 72% return straight home.

"Even a 5% reduction in the number of cars making the school run would save the economy £23.4 million a year.

"It's a financial imperative the Government must address by making walking and cycling the easiest and safest way to get to school."

A Government spokesman said: "Walking or cycling to school isn't just great exercise, it clearly has wider potential benefits, which is exactly why we are funding local projects to promote sustainable travel to school and why we have taken action to make the school run safer.

"We have made it easier for councils to put 20mph limits in place and we're encouraging them to install safer Puffin crossings. We're also determined to do more to encourage parents to ditch their cars on the school run, which is why we have recently consulted on this issue."

By Matthew Cooper, Press Association