Walk on Wednesdays, transport minister tells Scots

Everyone should walk on Wednesdays for short journeys, transport minister Humza Yousaf urged today.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 2:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:27 pm
The launch of Walk Day Wednesday coincides with Walk to School Week. Picture: Scottish Government

The move was launched as a new travel campaign to improve health and reduce vehicle emissions.

Previous official efforts have included to get people travelling less than two miles to walk rather than drive.

It will be followed by an event in Edinburgh tomorrow to highlight the annual Walk to School week by pedestrian campaigners Living Streets.

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Living Streets mascot Strider helping to launch International Walk to School Month at Abbeyhill Primary in Edinburgh in 2015. Picture: Living Streets

Ministers have already said they want walking to be the norm for journeys up to two miles by 2030, and cycling up to five miles.

Mr Yousaf said: “Walk Day Wednesday is a great incentive for people to pick one day of the week to get active, to leave the car and make those short journeys on foot, whether to work or to the local shop.

“The environmental benefits of walking are already well known, so we’re also highlighting the positive impact on physical health, mental well-being and general quality of life.

“The Scottish Government continues to encourage modal shift from cars and towards active and sustainable transport options.

Living Streets mascot Strider helping to launch International Walk to School Month at Abbeyhill Primary in Edinburgh in 2015. Picture: Living Streets

“We have put in place record investment in walking and cycling, with over £176 million invested in [this] active travel since the start of the 2011 spending review.

Paths for All chief officer Ian Findlay said: “Walking everyday is the easiest way for everyone to fit some activity into their daily lives.

“It is good for a healthy body and mind, as well as the environment.”

Pupils at St John’s RC Primary in Edinburgh will help launch Walk to School Week with Strider, Living Streets’ mascot.

The Portobello school is among nine in the capital where traffic is banned from surrounding streets to encourage more pupils to walk and cycle under a city council pilot School Streets scheme.

Living Streets schools and projects coordinator Chris Thompson said: “The pupils and staff here are all extremely enthusiastic and a great advert for walking to school.

“We’re encouraging pupils and families across Scotland to swap four wheels for two feet and see how much healthier and happier they feel after walking to school.

St John’s head teacher Barbara Service said: “So many more of our pupils and their parents and carers now choose to walk, cycle or scoot to school thanks to the School Streets scheme.

“It’s helping everyone stay healthy and active while keeping the whole school community safe at the start and end of the school day.”

The council has said that since the scheme was launched in 2015, the number of pupils walking to school increased by three percentage points and car drop-offs by six points.