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10,000 pupils across Harrogate take part in second 'Walk to School Day'

More than 10,000 children across the Harrogate district took part in the second 'Walk to School Day' last week.

Organised by Zero Carbon Harrogate, the event encouraged children and their families to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport to get to school. Forty primary and four secondary schools signed up for the event on Friday (8th October) - a 42% increase in uptake from the first event in June.

Fiona Jones, Events Manager of Zero Carbon Harrogate - the volunteer-led charity that started the local initiative, said:

"This is the first Walk to School event exclusively for our district’s community and it has had a huge impact from being a co-ordinated effort – streets were noticeably quieter during the school run on Friday.

"The enthusiasm and positivity from schools, especially the children, has been fantastic. As regular half-termly events, these are not just about a single day in time, but about building positive transport habits that become a daily occurrence.

"These are the significant changes that will really make a difference."

[caption id="attachment_17852" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] The Mayor of Harrogate and Andrew Jones MP joined pupils at St Roberts Catholic Primary School on Walk to School Day.[/caption] Among those who were present on the day was Mayor of Harrogate Councillor Trevor Chapman, who visited children at Harrogate High and St. Robert's Primary School. Cllr Chapman said:

"Myself and the Mayoress were delighted to support the Harrogate District Walk to School Day.

"We were pleased to talk to a large number of pupils from both the High School and St Robert’s Primary School, many of whom had walked to school on the day.

"The pupils were also aware of the need to reduce carbon emissions and the need to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads which we were pleased to hear."

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones was also in attendance, having back the initiative when it launched in June.

Mr Jones highlighted the impact individuals can make through small changes to their school commute.
He said:

"Sometimes when we look at the scale of the task ahead of us in preventing climate change it seems that there is little we can do as individuals that will make a difference.

"But that isn’t correct and people often ask me how they can reduce their carbon footprint. Using the car less is an important and effective way to reduce carbon emissions.

"Greenhouse gases from transport are one of the biggest categories of pollutants that are causing global warming.

"Every car journey replaced by walking has a direct and positive impact on our environment."

Staff and students were also enthusiastic for the event.

Mr Bowlas, Headteacher of Holy Trinity Church of England Infant and Junior Schools said:

"We are lucky being in the beautiful city of Ripon, a very green city and our children benefit from the fresh air that walking to school brings them, chatting with their friends in the morning. This puts them all in a good place for learning later in the day."

The next Walk to School Day will be on Friday 19th November 2021.

Residents can also pledge to avoid car journeys on a weekly basis by signing up to the Car Free Fridays initiative here.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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