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Pupils Attend Green Travel Champions Launch at Maidstone Borough Council chambers

By KentOnline reporter

An eco travel scheme to improve child health has been given the green light by pupils in Maidstone.

The youngsters have joined KM Green Travel Champions, a scheme that encourages children to become green ambassadors for their schools.

(From left) Caroline McBride from Golding Homes, Cllr Maron Ring, Paula Warrington from Babybel and Sarah Jane Edwards-Bonner from Maidstone Borough Council with children from Archbishop Courtenay primary school.

Pupils are rewarded for using physically active means to get to school such as walking or cycling. The aim is to establish a healthy lifestyle from a young age and free up roads from excess traffic.

Almost 50 youngsters attended a formal meeting at Maidstone Borough Council chambers for the district launch of the scheme. The four primary schools in attendance were Archbishop Courtenay, St Francis’ Catholic, Holy Family RC and St Michael’s Church of England.

Cllr Marion Ring, cabinet member for the environment, said: “We have been supporting the KM Walk to School scheme for the last three years. It tackles peak hour congestion problems within our town, it complements the work we are undertaking to reduce air pollution, it increases participation in active travel, and it gives children a great start to their day and their lives.”

She continued: “The Green Travel Champions initiative takes the next step of empowering young people and raising awareness of the wide-ranging benefits this scheme promotes. The incredibly challenging and complex list of questions that these young people presented on the day clearly demonstrates their engagement and support.”

Pupils who become Green Travel Champions must arrange activities to promote green travel. Suggested activities include writing a letter, staging a presentation to parents, and becoming a green travel photojournalist.

The children also show a good example by being kinder to the environment for the school run. They walk, cycle or scooter as often as they can, while pupils that live further away have the option to park and stride.

Simon Dolby, chief executive of KM Walk to School, said: “The children enjoy getting regular exercise, perform better at school and are much less likely to develop obesity-related diseases. And of course making fewer car journeys directly tackles the dual problem of traffic queues and pollution.”

Any pupil registered on the Green Travel Champions scheme is also in with a chance to win a special limited edition t-shirt.

Other sponsors include Babybel, Countrystyle Recycling, Specsavers, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Southern Water and Orbit South.

For more information about the scheme, visit www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk and search ‘green champion’.

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