The school run & the climate emergency

Tackling the threat to the planet’s climate means making fundamental changes in the way we all live and work. It’s a global issue. The earth’s temperature is rising with the past seven years being the warmest on record. 

Every local authority has been set a government target to cut carbon emissions – and more than 200 councils across the UK have declared a climate emergency. And Climate UK has created a council climate league table.

It’s time to take action

Many councils have already started consulting residents to create strategies looking at how to make transport, buildings, energy, food and farming greener. 

It’s a huge challenge as they come under extreme financial pressure with budgets and services being cut. 

The school run’s impact on the climate

Looking at transport, estimates suggest 25% of cars during peak hours are on the school run. One simple way to reduce emissions is to encourage children to catch the bus, walk or cycle.

This is also important in addressing the unsafe levels of air pollution.  

According to a recent Unicef report, “The Toxic School Run”, one in three children in the UK are growing up in areas with toxic air, with the majority of it coming from vehicle emissions.

Public Health England’s 2019 report stated “working with children and their parents to implement no-idling zones outside schools, make it easy for children to walk or cycle to school and increase public awareness in relation to air pollution and children. This will reduce air pollution in the vicinity of schools and reducing children’s exposure accordingly.”

The cost of the school run

School transport is a substantial part of any local authority’s budget but the rising demand for transport required by children with special needs is putting more pressure on budgets which are already under strain. 

As a result ‘discretionary’ home-to-school transport (where authorities choose to provide it rather than must by law) has declined 27% since 2015. 

But there are practical steps authorities can take to address costs and reduce emissions.

Infrastructure improvements for safer active travel to school

Infrastructure improvements (e.g. a zebra crossing or improved street lighting) can deliver returns on investment by making active travel (walking and cycling) safer for children travelling to school. 

Studies show that active travel improves health, wellbeing and academic achievement.

Optimised routes

And optimising shared routes (buses, minibuses or other vehicles) for SEND and mainstream home to school transport can also reduce costs, CO2 emissions, and reduce traffic congestion around schools.

What our customers say

More than 35 local authorities have signed up to use either QPaths, QRoutes or both because they’re accurate, easy to use and deliver demonstrable savings. 

Some councils have even used it to help with wider strategic planning such as working out the best location to build a new school. 

QRoutes helps authorities reduce CO2 and air pollution caused by the school run improving the environment for generations to come.

Helping you green the school run

To explore how we could help you reduce the environmental impact of the school run and improve air quality around schools, let’s talk