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Joanna Rowsell-Shand adds her name to Sustrans campaign

Josh Cunningham
20 Mar 2017

Recently-retired Joanna Rowsell has voiced support of Sustrans' campaign to use 'sugar tax' to help fund cycling

Joanna Rowsell recently announced that she is retiring from racing after becoming a double Olympic champion last year, and has begun life off the bike by joining Sustrans in its campaign to use 'sugar tax' funds to help fund children take up cycling to school. 

Sustrans, a charity supporting the use of sustainable transport in every day use, wants to use the funds gained from a levy on sugary drinks to be reinvested into helping school children cycle (and walk) to school.

Recent figures show that just 9% of the UK parents say their children get (the recommended) 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

About 19% said their child took part in 60 minutes of physical activity a day two days a week, while 13% said their children did so one day a week or less.

'The average primary school journey is 1.6 miles - a distance that can be walked, scooted or cycled as an easy way of building more physical activity into our busy lives,' said Xavier Brice, Sustrans’ CEO. 

The charity says however that parents want to see better infrastructure before they consider cycling or walking as a primary way of getting their children to school. 

'We’re calling on schools in England to use some of the funding from the doubled School Sport Premium and the Healthy Pupils’ Capital Programme derived from the sugar tax to boost levels of active travel on the school journey,' Brice continued.

'Now more than ever we need to see more children walking, scooting or cycling to school,' said Joanna Rowsell-Shand herself. 

'Not only is cycling great for young people’s health, it also builds confidence and independence, and I’ve got lots of happy memories of cycling to school when I was a kid. 

'The safer and more comfortable children feel on their bikes, the more they will enjoy it and the more likely they are to continue to cycle throughout their lives.'

Sustrans' 'The Big Pedal', which inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school, will run from 20th-31st March. 

Visit sustrans.org.uk for more information.

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