Travelling sustainably to school gets a big tick


Blackburn with Darwen borough council have been working with charity ‘Living Streets’ since the beginning of the year to increase the number of pupils who walk or wheel to school in a project titled ‘WOW’.

‘WOW’ is a pupil-led initiative where children self-report how they get to school every day using the interactive WOW Travel Tracker. By travelling sustainably (walk/wheel, cycle, or scoot) once a week for a month, they get rewarded a badge.

Not only has it meant supporting young people to become more active, instilling healthy habits, alleviating parking issues, and reducing traffic around the schools; but it also helps contribute to a reduction in emissions across the borough, which coincides with the aims in the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.  

The main objective of the project is to support the government to reach its target of 55% of children walking or wheeling to school by 2025. So far in the borough, the average is currently 44.34%, which has increased by 9% since the beginning of the project. And to add to this, many more schools have expressed an interest in taking part in the scheme in the coming months.

As part of the project, a school route audit has been delivered at St Luke & St Philip’s CE Primary to look in detail at the walking environment around the school. A report has been compiled along with recommendations and both the school and council will consider making improvements in the area to support walking to school. Plans for a further four audits amongst participating schools are planned and will be funded through Blackburn with Darwen borough council.

The ten schools currently taking part in the project are:

  • Daisyfield Primary School
  • St Barnabas CofE Primary Academy, Darwen
  • Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
  • Roe Lee Park Primary School
  • St Antony’s RC Primary School
  • St Cuthbert’s Church of England Primary School
  • St James’ Church of England Primary School
  • St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Darwen
  • St Luke and St Philips Church of England Primary School
  • Sudell Primary School

Councillor Jim Smith, Executive Member for Environment and Operations said: 

"This is a fantastic project to be part of and I’m so glad that so many schools have taken an active role in participating – literally! It’s crucial that we do all we can to minimise the use of vehicles in the borough – not only for our health, but also the environment. I look forward to seeing more schools taking part in the near future."