Ten thousand pupils take part in Harrogate's second Walk to School Day
More than 10,000 children across the Harrogate district took part in the town's second Walk to School Day.
Pupils and their families left the car at home last Friday, October 8 in an initiative backed by Harrogate Borough Council, the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition and sponsored by Your Harrogate Radio.
The event has proved to be a growing community success as 44 primary and secondary schools signed up to take their stand against the climate emergency.
Timed to coincide with a wide programme of events in the current Harrogate Climate Action Festival, this represents a 42% increase in uptake since the initiative’s launch in June this year.
Instead of their usual drive to school, pupils are encouraged to walk, cycle, scoot or take public transport.
Those families unable to eliminate car usage completely are also welcomed to take part by car-sharing or choosing the ‘park and stride’ option - parking further from the school gate than usual and continuing their journey on foot, if possible.
Many participating schools registered the percentage of uptake amongst their pupils, with the aim of gaining an eco-top spot on Zero Carbon Harrogate’s leader board.
Fiona Jones, Events Manager for Zero Carbon Harrogate, the volunteer-led charity that started the local initiative, said: "Streets were noticeably quieter during the school run on Friday. The event has had a huge impact from being a co-ordinated effort.
"The enthusiasm and positivity from schools, especially the children, has been fantastic.
"As regular half-termly events, these are not just about a single day in time, but about building positive transport habits that become a daily occurrence.
"These are the significant changes that will really make a difference.”
Congratulations went to Birstwith Church of England Primary School, who were the district’s Zero Hero primary school winners this time with 91% taking part.
Very close runners-up were Meadowside Academy with 89% and Spofforth Church of England VC Primary School with 88%.
Harrogate High School were the Zero Hero secondary school winners, with 85% participation.
They were closely followed by Harrogate Grammar School at 82%.
The most improved school for participation was Oatlands Infants School, with 23% more participation this time.
Darley Community Primary School participation also improved by a huge 20%. Congratulations to all of the Zero Hero Schools.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Coun Trevor Chapman and Mrs Janet Chapman, along with Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, welcomed participating pupils into Harrogate High School and St Robert’s Catholic Primary School on the event day.
Andrew Jones MP said: Sometimes when we look at the scale of the task ahead of us in preventing climate change it seems that there is little we can do as individuals that will make a difference.
"But that isn’t correct and people often ask me how they can reduce their carbon footprint.
"Using the car less is an important and effective way to reduce carbon emissions.
"Greenhouse gases from transport are one of the biggest categories of pollutants that are causing global warming.
"Every car journey replaced by walking has a direct and positive impact on our environment.”
Find the full Harrogate district schools Walk to School Day results table here: https://www.zerocarbonharrogate.org.uk/school-leaderboard