As children give up their car seat for Shanks' Pony for Walk to School Week
The aim of the campaign, which runs from May 17 to 21, is to cut traffic congestion and pollution and encourage parents and pupils to abandon the traditional 'school run'.
Almost a fifth of all car journeys in the UK at morning and afternoon peak times involve parents ferrying their children to and from school. Over the past year, data shows that in Wandsworth, the number of children travelling to school by car has dropped two per cent – from 16 to 14 per cent.
Walking provides a healthy and enjoyable alternative, which gives children and parents the chance to talk with friends. It also helps young people develop better road safety skills.
Pupils who take part in this week's inititaive are also being encouraged to write a poem about their walk. They can write about what they've seen, how they've felt, what new sights they've spotted, what the weather has been like and their overall experiences of walking to school.
Young people who take part will have the chance of seeing their poem published in a special book commemorating the event and they will also be awarded prizes and a certificate.
Meanwhile, staff from the council's dog control unit are also joining the daily walks in a bid to spread the message about responsible dog ownership.
Council leader Edward Lister said: "This is an annual event which is chalking up some notable successes in reducing the number of children travelling to school by car.
"Children who have taken part in previous years have said how much they enjoy the experience of walking with their parents and their friends. They say it's very relaxing and they all want to do more to protect the environment and cut car use.
"Hopefully this year's campaign will be equally successful in encouraging people to leave their car keys behind on a permanent basis when they take their children to school."
For more information on local events or ideas for your school, contact the council's school travel officer on (020) 8871 7984 or visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/walktoschool. For more information about Walk to School Week, visit www.walktoschool.org.uk.
May 18, 2010