Walk / scoot / cycle to school in North Yorkshire (2024)

There are 2 points in the year where third party organisations provide a mechanism for schools to get kids walking, scooting and cycling to school. These are during March (Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel) and during September (Bikeability Cycle to School Week). We are not aware of any Whitby and district school participating in these, and were not surprised (yet disappointed) with the take up across North Yorkshire in the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel 2024 – just 8 primary schools (many small) are participating. This prompted us to write the following email to NYC (Richard Flinton, Amanda Newbold, Karl Battersby, Cllr Carl Les, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, and Cllr Keane Duncan).


I think we can all agree that encouraging children to be active has to be an aim of any local authority (I’m sure you’re aware of the facts and figures of the many benefits so won’t mention those here). One of the great opportunities for this in the UK each calendar year is the “Sustrans Great Walk and Wheel” (15th year of operation), run for a fortnight during March. Schools can enrol and effectively compete for the most active school based on the number of kids who participate. If we look at the schools enrolled for 2024 in North Yorkshire we see just 8!

You can see these on this link.

This has to be viewed as extremely disappointing.

The current Local Transport Plan says

“The councils Road Safety and Travel Awareness team works with Public Health and the 95 Alive Partnership and currently delivers training programmes to promote safe use of the road network. ‘Bikeability’ training is delivered to primary schools, so that children understand how to cycle on and across roads.

Cycling and walking to school schemes are also encouraged and the team works with schools to develop their own travel plans.

We can ensure the opportunity to walk or cycle to school is an achievable and attractive option, through promotion and development of safe and convenient routes to school. We will continue to challenge parents’ decision to take children to school by car where there are suitable walking options, and we will promote active travel choices. “

We can only conclude from the evidence around us that the “encouragement” for schools to adopt cycling and walking to school is not working, and that walking/cycling to school is not currently seen as “an achievable and attractive option”.

Can you please advise what steps you will be making across the whole county, and particularly within Whitby and Esk Valley, to ensure that walking and cycling to school is not just “encouraged” but actually delivers quantifiable results?

We are particularly interested to know how you plan on achieving any improvement given that investment in active travel is at very low levels currently with no apparent sign of a change in strategy from this council.


Whitby and Esk Valley Active Travel

We will post here any reply from North Yorkshire Council so that, hopefully, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.

We have since heard from Sustrans that the number of schools participating was 4 in 2022, and was 12 in 2023 – we’re pretty sure that of these, none were from Whitby and District. Clearly there is no improvement being generated by the NYC Local Transport Plan.

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