30,000 children driven to school in Leeds every day
More than 30,000 children in Leeds are driven to school every day, according to latest estimates.
Figures released by Leeds City Council show more than 28,000 children in the city travel by “car or van”, while hundreds more use taxis or car shares.
But the figures add that the majority of the city’s pupils still walk to school, with an army of more than 51,000 children wearing out shoe leather on the way to school.
The council also claims that the proportion of children walking to school each day is higher than it was a decade ago.
Statistics, published on statistics website Datamill North, show the results of a council data request into modes of transport made to all schools in the city. While the council added that it didn’t always receive data for all students, data for 98,213 pupils existed in the numbers.
Data shows that at least 28,366 children travel to school by “car/van”. When added to “car share” and “taxi” categories, the number rises to 30,627.
However, most children in Leeds appear to take part in the school run by foot. A total of 51,346 surveyed pupils walk to school in the city, thought to be in line with the national average.
In addition, 5,974 travel by a public bus service, while 7,180 travel by dedicated school bus – a total of 13,154.
A response from Leeds City Council claimed that the number of pupils in Leeds walking to school is now 52.3 per cent, compared with 47.9 percent in 2007.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment Coun Jonathan Pryor said: “We are committed to promoting active school travel because we know that every single student who walks or cycles to school in Leeds helps to create a healthy city for all of us.
“Twice as many children in Leeds walk to school than are driven. However, we know that many children are still driven to school for a variety of reasons which has an impact on congestion, road safety and air quality, not just around schools, but around the wider city.”
Jenny Wiles, northern director of Living Streets, an organisation which aims to get kids walking to school, said: “These walk to school figures are in line with the rest of England, where just 51 per cent of primary school pupils walk to school.
“At Living Streets, we want every child that can walk to school to be able to do so. Walking to school helps children get more active, brings families and communities together, and reduces the environmental impact of road transport.
“While the number of children walking to school nationally is static, this isn’t the case in schools where the walk to school is being prioritised.
“We want more schools to prioritise the walk to school. When they do, they’ll be rewarded with safer streets, cleaner air and healthier and happier children.”
The authority’s accompanying statement with the data set read: “It is an important part of improving road safety and promoting healthy lifestyles among children in Leeds but since the council declared a climate emergency in March of this year the data is even more valuable. The data helps us understand the environmental context in Leeds and work to effectively limit carbon emissions wherever possible.
“We strongly encourage all schools to provide the data but not all of them respond to the request and we do not always receive a response for every pupil/student so some school response rates may be low.”