Britain is, apparently, breeding a generation of 'Car Seat Kids' and the number of children walking to school at all time low. Just 47% of primary school-aged children now walk to school with the figure falling to a paltry 36% by the time they get to secondary school.
Much of this, of course, is inevitable. There's an expectation - as well as need in many cases - that both parents will be working and the closure of small, local schools as well as the pressure on school places makes a car journey a necessity for some families.
Nevertheless I'm always amused to see those who could walk resorting to the car, even more so when - after walking myself - I arrive at the school gates before them. Today marks the start of National Walk to School week, brainchild of the charity, Living Streets and their Chief Executive, Tony Armstrong, writes:
Walking to school is a brilliant way to get exercise and some fresh air into a child’s day. When children are bundled from front door to car door, they miss out on the opportunity to socialise with friends, get to know their community, and burn off some energy before getting their heads down in the books.
We’re urging families up and down the country to give it a go during Walk to School Week this year. We think you’ll be amazed at what a difference a short blast of fresh air can do for you. It’s free, green and easy and above all it works. Schools that have adopted our own Walk Once a Week scheme have recorded higher incidence of walking than the national average. We need to encourage children to get walking now and set healthy habits for the future.
I'll second that. I enjoy the school-run using Shank's pony. With so many cars on the roads it's often quicker. So why not come and join us?
After all, the pavements are empty!