NEW research reveals the majority of people in Scotland are in favour of measures to make it easier for families to walk to school.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, carried out the research ahead of national Walk to School Week (May 17 to 21).

The YouGov poll found that nearly two thirds of people in Scotland (67%) support car-free zones outside schools, with support also for safer crossings (57%), a ban on pavement parking (55%) and lower speed limits (47%).

One in four cars on Britain’s roads at peak times are on the school run, generating half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The charity is urging families to leave the car at home for the journey to school and is urging local authorities to make it easier for families to choose cleaner, sustainable travel.

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “We’ve seen the huge improvements on offer to health and air quality when we drive less and walk more. We need to ensure families feel safe and confident to walk to school so we can keep enjoying these benefits.

“We work in over 2,000 schools across the UK and parents tell us they are put off walking because of speeding vehicles, unsafe crossings and cars parked on pavements. By making school streets car free, we remove those barriers – and our new research shows that most people back these changes. “We want at least one school street – closed to traffic at drop off and pick up times - in every ward to help more families enjoy the fresh air, freedom, friendship and fun that walking to school brings.”

Thousands of children across the UK will celebrate the benefits of walking during Walk to School Week. Families will be encouraged to walk, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’ for the whole week to see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates.