AQW 25538/11-15

Mr Chris Lyttle
Alliance Party
East Belfast

Tabled Date: 11/09/2013
Answered On Date: 24/09/2013
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister for Regional Development what progress has he made towards meeting the targets of children walking and cycling to school, as set out in the Programme for Government 2011-2015.

My Department in partnership with the Public Health Agency has put in place an Active School Travel Initiative to engage with a range of schools across N Ireland to deliver a walking and cycling skills training programme.
The contract to deliver this initiative was awarded to Sustrans in July 2013 and involves the delivery of a programme of cycle and walking skills training to pupils in 180 schools across Northern Ireland over a three year period. The objective of this programme is to encourage school children to adopt cycling and walking as their main mode of transport to school which will help to increase numbers identified in the Programme for Government (PfG) target.
A robust programme of monitoring and evaluation is being developed to ensure compliance with the PfG targets and improved information.
Prior to award of this contract my Department commissioned a one year interim sustainable school travel proposal delivered to 40 schools which began the process of delivering increases in sustainable transport choices made by school children in advance of the introduction of the full Active School Travel Programme.
I aim to bid for £2m in October monitoring to support this programme with investment in infrastructure (often safety measures at schools) and I am keen to develop a long term marketing campaign to develop behavioural change to further promote the benefits of sustainable alternatives to the car.
My Department is also working with other Stakeholders in the forthcoming Giro d’Italia Big Start to ensure that it provides a lasting legacy for cycling among our school children.