CHILDREN from 22 schools across Greater Manchester are pedalling and scooting their school run over the next two weeks as part of Sustrans’ national Big Pedal challenge to cut air pollution.
Over 1500 schools, containing over half a million children in the UK, are taking part in the Big Pedal
The kid’s mass pedal aims to reduce 4.8 million balloons worth of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere throughout the North West.
Children will cycle and scoot over 230,000 miles during the Big Pedal, a two-week cycling and scooting challenge organised by Sustrans, the charity behind the National Cycle Network.
The challenge will cut an estimated 145,000 car journeys for school runs in the North West, saving over three tonnes of Nitrogen Oxide and over 1,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the environment.
Reports show that children who travel actively could reduce their exposure to Nitrogen Oxides by up to 60% as concentrations are higher inside the vehicle than outside.
Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans’ England Director for the North said: “Over 40,000* people die each year in the UK directly because of air pollution and it is simply unacceptable.
“The Big Pedal demonstrates the difference that can be made if people are encouraged to leave their cars at home. Not only will they get fitter and healthier by cycling and scooting, dangerous emissions are reduced which benefits everyone.
“To make this happen on a large scale the government must transform our towns and cities into places where cycling and walking is the natural choice for journeys to school and work. Only by doing this can we hope to prevent the thousands of deaths caused by air pollution and at the same time make the nation healthier.”
Over 1500 schools, containing over half a million children in the UK, are taking part in the Big Pedal which is running between 18 and 29 April. The Big Pedal is organised by Sustrans and funded by Bike Hub.
For more information on the event or for tips on cycling and scooting to school, visit www.sustrans.org.uk/bigpedal. You can also share your pictures on Sustrans North West facebook or via @sustransnw on twitter.
* NHS Choices, February 2016. “Air pollution 'kills 40,000 a year' in the UK, says report”