The walking and cycling charity Sustrans’ Big Pedal event saw over 3,100 children take part in Crawley Borough Council between April 19-30.
During the competition, Crawley Borough Council school children were physically active – walking, cycling, wheeling and scooting to school, and completing physical activities for a total of just over 270,000 minutes.
This follows data released by Sport England earlier this year that suggests there was a decline in the physical activity levels of children due to the pandemic, with almost a third of children in England engaging in less than 30 minutes of daily physical activity in the 2019-2020 academic year.
If the children taking active journeys during Sustrans Big Pedal had travelled to school by car instead, this could have created 14 tonnes of CO2 and 28 kg of NOx. That’s enough to fill an entire hot air balloon with harmful CO2 emissions.
This follows a YouGov survey commissioned by Sustrans and published in April which showed that just under half (49 per cennt) of UK children worry about air pollution near their school, and 40 per cent of UK children believe the best way to bring down levels of air pollution near their schools is for more people to walk, cycle or scoot to school.
Speaking about the results of the Big Pedal competition, James Cleeton, director for South of England at Sustrans said: “It’s great to see how many journeys were made walking, wheeling, scooting and cycling in Crawley during Big Pedal.
“This year, perhaps more than ever, it has been brilliant to see so many people enjoying their active journeys to school. Being able to make the Big Pedal happen again despite the pandemic has been truly great.
“The results of our recent YouGov survey show just how concerned children are about air pollution in their local area. As adults we should be doing more to make it easier for them, and us, to travel actively for everyday journeys like the school run.
“Sustrans is calling for national and local governments to prioritise high quality walking and cycling routes and to accelerate the roll out of school streets.”
Children from The Oaks Primary from Crawley Borough Council completed over 7,600 journeys as a single school. The school positioned ninth nationally in the category for large primary schools and won first place in Crawley Borough Council. The school have been awarded a trophy and a £300 voucher for Decathlon.
For more information and a list of the overall winners visit bigpedal.org.uk.