Pupils saddle up to aid clean air

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Over 100 pupils in Calderdale got on their bikes and took part in the Schools Yorkshire Tour to encourage young people to cycle more.

As part of the cycling challenge, a baton travelled 400 miles across the county, passed on by children on bikes from 160 schools.

It started in York on Monday June 10 to celebrate national Bike Week (June 8-14) and will finish in Doncaster on Tuesday July 2.

The relay visited Calderdale on Tuesday June 18, passing through 14 schools before moving on to Kirklees.

The event aims to increase the number of young people involved in cycling across the region, with the ambition of more children using bikes when travelling to and from school.

This supports the key Calderdale Council priorities of promoting an active lifestyle through its Active Calderdale movement, while improving air quality outside schools as part of Clean Air Day and the Council’s wider air quality campaign, Let’s Clear the Air, to tackle air pollution and encourage people to help by taking action of their own.

Coun Tim Swift, Calderdale Council’s Leader, said: “We want more people in Calderdale to leave their cars behind and travel in active ways.

“Our distinctive borough is a great place for walking and cycling, and the more we do it, the better it is for our health, wellbeing and the environment.

“The Schools Yorkshire Tour was the perfect opportunity to get young people excited about cycling and to understand how important it is to move more and make our air cleaner and healthier.”

One of the schools involved in the cycling relay, Riverside Junior School in Hebden Bridge, is ‘bike friendly’, benefiting from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bike or on foot.

Pupils from the school cycled along a section of the upgraded Rochdale Canal towpath. The towpath improvements are underway between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden, thanks to Department for Transport funding secured by the Combined Authority and Calderdale Council, with additional contributions from both organisations.