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Walk to School week is given the ‘WOW’ factor

19 May, 2008


Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today marked Walk to School Week 2008 with the launch of a new schools initiative with the 'WOW!' Factor.

The schools initiative is entitled 'WOW!' and stands for 'Walk/Wheels Once a Week'. Over 45,000 primary and post primary school pupils in the north will be taking part in this year's Walk to School Week (19 - 23 May) enjoying the environmental, health, social and financial benefits of walking the journey to and from school.

To mark the beginning of Walk to School Week 2008, Conor Murphy visited Fane Street Primary School in South Belfast, a local school actively promoting sustainable transport.

The minister said:

"At peak morning rush hour approximately 20% of cars are on the school run, significantly adding to congestion on our local roads and many of these car journeys are within reasonable walking distance. With many schools being located in or near residential areas this also has a knock on effect on congestion affecting local communities.

"With growing congestion at the school gates and car commuters feeling the pressure of rising fuel prices, I would urge all schools to consider the important role that education has to play in delivering a clear message in support of sustainability."

Schools are being encouraged to use this year's Walk to School theme of 'Saving The Planet - One Step at a Time' to organise their own special events and explore their surrounding environment on the school journey.

The WOW! initiative has been developed by Travelwise NI and trialled in over 100 primary and post primary schools. It is now available to every school and uses colourful posters, interactive daily charts and certificates to get pupils actively involved in walking and cycling to help address the problems caused by the 'school run.' The minister expressed his hopes that schools registering for Walk to School Week will also participate in the new WOW! Initiative.

For more information on Travelwise NI schools initiatives including WOW! and Walk to School Week, or to register participation tel. 0845 378 0908 or visit. www.travelwiseni.com.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • Schools that participate in Walk to School Week in the North will be eligible to win the 'Travelwise NI Schools Time-Capsule' to be presented during Travelwise NI Week in September and buried within school grounds.
  • Walk to School 2008 participant figures are based on school registrations and requests for Travelwise NI school resources for pupils.
  • 20% of traffic on the road at 8.50am is on the "School Run"
  • Road Transport is responsible for 25% of CO2 in the atmosphere.

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