More pupils walking and cycling to school

More and more youngsters are cycling or walking to school in Aberdeenshire, according to figures given to Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee. 

The figures show a rise from 46.8% to 52%, compared to only a slight increase nationally from 57.2% to 57.4%. 

Meanwhile the number of Aberdeenshire pupils being driven to school has fallen from 24% in 2006 to 21%, according to the latest figures compiled from a national survey. 

Committee member Councillor Ian Mollison, who represents North Kincardine, said: “This is good news. It is good for the environment and it is good for the fitness of our young people. However more needs to be done to encourage everyone – adults included – to walk or cycle.” 

The Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) had representatives at the Portlethen Gala on Saturday highlighting their plans for better links between Cove, Portlethen, Newtonhill and Muchalls. It is possible to cycle along the route at present but there are missing sections between the communities which would be more direct. 

Councillor Mollison commented: “People are more likely to walk or cycle if they can do so in safety and within a reasonable time. At present the routes zigzag along country roads, tracks and paths. 

“For example between Cammachmore and Portlethen there is a very convoluted route to use via Downies or by going alongside the A90. Neither is direct, and the A90 route is not particularly pleasant, especially when lorries and buses zoom past only inches away. 

“I welcome the plans by the CTC to establish new paths which I am sure would be well used. 

“The challenge is getting the agreement of local landowners to allow routes to be provided along the edges of fields.”

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