§ Ms Blears
Local safe routes to school schemes are being developed as part of local transport plans. The Department for Transport allocated £620 million to local authorities for small-scale schemes such as road safety and measures to encourage walking and cycling, including up to 800 more safe routes to school in the 2002–03 local transport plan settlement.
According to local transport plan annual progress reports (APRs) submitted to the Department for Transport in August 2002 1,782 safe routes to school schemes were in place in April 2002, with a further 1,543 planned for 2002–03. The APRs also showed that safe routes schemes to 8,006 schools, or about 35 per cent., of schools, are planned by 2006.
Between 1999 and 2001, this Department also developed and funded the safe and sound challenge scheme, which disbursed around £210,000 to over 80 schools to implement initiatives to promote healthy active modes of travel. We commissioned follow up monitoring and evaluation of some of the schemes, which had been funded in the first two years of the challenge. The results showed that schools had successfully implemented school travel initiatives with the funding that had been awarded. However, it was not possible to establish whether any real changes in school travel patterns had occurred, as most schools did not have baseline data for comparison.