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Active travel keeps momentum

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Tuesday 23 June 2020

A survey carried out last week shows that the number of students travelling to school in an active way is still up on what the island usually sees.

The survey, carried out from Monday 15 June until Wednesday 17 June, found that 39% of students in years 6, 8, and 10 were using active travel to get to school. This was a 25.8% increase on the 2016 Young People's survey, which only had 31% of students travelling actively.

Overall, 3,159 students and 164 teachers from eleven schools responded to the survey from all year groups, with results also showing an average of 39% of students used active travel to get to school. That number increased in the afternoons, as 43% were travelling home by walking or cycling.

Primary schools saw the most active travel taking place with 41% of pupils travelling to school actively, and 45% travelling home actively.

Education, Sport & Culture, Environment & Infrastructure and the Health Improvement Commission all worked together ahead of schools returning after lockdown to encourage students to use active travel. While the push was necessary to avoid congestion problems and follow social distancing guidelines, it was also an opportunity to get more people active.

The Survey was overseen by the Health Improvement Commission. Alun Williams, the Be Active lead, said:

"It is great to see an increase in active travel to school. Walking or cycling to school is a great way to fit some physical activity into children and young people's day We think that the increase is probably a combination of factors; the increased importance that young people and families have placed on being active, flexible working, the support given by schools and the temporary infrastructure such as lower speed limits, drop and stride locations and staggered start and finish times. This gives great insight into the factors which need to be sustained and extended if we want increased active travel to be part of our new normal."

The first few days of schools returning saw around 50% of students choosing active travel, and this is a trend that has continued through the first few weeks.

On average, the number did decrease slightly, however, and so the Health Improvement Commission will be conducting another survey next month to better assess the medium term impact that can be expected.

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