PUPILS at two York schools have helped to prepare a 'Manifesto for Change' in a bid to create a cleaner and safer environment

Children at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Primary School and Acomb Primary School, which are on neighbouring streets, in Acomb, York, carried out a street survey with the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, to decide how the area could be made safer and more attractive for travelling actively to school.

The schools are calling for parents to park away from the school gates during drop off and pick up times and to turn off their engines, while also encouraging walking and cycling.

Ahead of Sustrans Bike to School Week - which runs from September 23-27 - the schools have released a joint ‘Manifesto for Change’.

Key points include installing a safe crossing place such as a zebra crossing, handing out flyers asking parents not to idle their cars, planting trees in the verges and introducing speed bumps and chicanes.

Both schools have also set up a ‘park and stride’, to encourage parents who want to drive to park at the York RI Rugby Club and walk with their children to school. They are part of a network of schools across York working with Sustrans to actively encourage walking and cycling to school.

Emma Barrs, headteacher at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, said: “We are very proud of the children for setting us all such a good example in their commitment to active travel and improving air quality.

"We are glad to have this opportunity to work together with our friends at Acomb Primary, Sustrans and the City of York Council. Together we can make a real difference.”

Katrina Adam, Sustrans schools officer in York, said: “The children considered how the general street environment around the schools made them feel, and what could change to encourage them to walk or cycle to school. The manifesto is a call to action for the school, local authorities, parents, and residents to help create these changes to get more children active on their school journey.

“We know that children, parents, and teachers are concerned about safety levels and air pollution around schools and it’s really exciting that Acomb and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs are part of a small group of pioneering schools across the UK which are trying to make changes.

"Please do support the children on their campaign to make positive changes to their school environments, and the journeys they make to get there.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader of City of York Council and executive member for transport, said: “The young people worked hard to think about solutions to make their journeys to school safer and greener.

"I would certainly encourage more work like this in schools so that walking and cycling can be a better option for everyone.”