It’s the standard routine for millions of parents across the country, but driving your children to school is costing the earth, according to green campaigners.
Transport charity Sustrans is urging parents to rethink their school run choices, claiming that around 84 balloons worth of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere on the average trip to the school gates.
In total, more than 363,075 tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere each year, simply as a result of daily school runs, the charity claims.
The situation is made worse, because many parents opt to do battle in the morning traffic with large and fuel-inefficient 4x4s.
Sustrans is calling on parents to rethink their transport choices, stating that options such as public transport and cycling would not only vastly reduce the amount of pollution generated, but would go some way to ease the gridlock seen around schools during the morning rush hour.
“Currently over 1,760,000 children are driven to primary school across the UK – even though pupils live an average of 1.8 miles from their school which takes just 20 minutes to bike or scoot,” the charity’s report states.
Sustrans’ announcement coincides with the start of their ‘The Big Pedal’ initiative. Running from 3-14 March, it is an inter-school competition designed to encourage families to cycle or use a push-scooter on the way to school.
This year more than 1,520 schools have signed up to take part in the event, which will see hundreds of thousands of school children ditch four wheels for two over the next ten days.
Sustrans’ report continues: “Last year families made 847,725 journeys by bike and scooter saving an impressive 704 tonnes of CO2 – or 52,800,000 balloons – from being released into the atmosphere had all these journeys been made by car.”
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive for Sustrans, said: “Driving to school not only contributes to UK-wide air pollution levels, it also causes pollution at the school gates which can be harmful for children.
“If families who lived closer to school travelled by bike or scooter then both pollution and congestion levels could be significantly reduced.”