MORE than 7,700 schoolchildren in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) took part in the UK’s largest wheeling, walking, cycling and scooting to school challenge. 

Fifteen schools across BCP completed more than 35,000 journeys and physical activities as part of the nationwide Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel challenge. 

Children across the UK were encouraged to commute to school by foot, bike or scooter in a bid to take cars off the road and improve air quality. 

If the 35,000 journeys completed had been made by car instead, 24 tonnes of CO2 could have been created – enough to fill 900,000 party balloons with the harmful emissions. 

Sarah Leeming, interim director for the south of England at Sustrans, said: “It’s brilliant to see everyone working together to walk, wheel, scoot and cycle so far during this year’s Big Walk and Wheel. 

“Travelling sustainably for the equivalent of so many trips around the world and doing our bit to stop vast amounts of harmful emissions being released, goes to show the positive impact we can have together by swapping to active travel for everyday journeys like the school run.” 

Read more: Bournemouth residents vote in Sustrans sculpture project

Top of the large primary school category leaderboard in the area was Christchurch Juniors, finishing 104th nationally with a daily average of 79 per cent of pupils logging active travel journeys and physical activity. 

Cllr Mike Greene, BCP Council’s portfolio holder for transport and sustainability, said: “Well done to the thousands of school children who made the journeys. 

“It’s great to see such positive involvement from our local school community. 

“We’re proud to partner with Sustrans - as a council we’re committed to supporting and promoting the benefits of an active school run.  

“It’s important for children and young people’s physical and mental health, as well as reducing traffic, improving air quality and saving fuel costs for parents.”