Sunderland pupils get on their bikes for the Big Pedal

Lambton pupils on their bikes near the Stadium of Light.
Lambton pupils on their bikes near the Stadium of Light.
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Children across Sunderland have been taking to their bikes and scooters over the past two weeks in an attempt to reduce over nine and a half million balloons worth of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Parents and teachers from Grange Park and Mill Hill Primaries joined hundreds of others across the region, leaving their cars at home for their normal trips to and from school, preventing more than 145,000 car journeys from taking place.

Instead they cycled and scooting over 230,000 miles during the Big Pedal, a two-week competition run by charity Sustrans.

Every pupil’s journey by bike or scooter scored points for their school with prizes on offer for those taking top spot in each area.

Rosslyn Colderly, England North Director at Sustrans, said: “Over 40,000 people die each year in the UK directly because of air pollution and it is simply unacceptable.

“The Big Pedal demonstrates the difference that can be made if people are encouraged to leave their cars at home. Not only will they get fitter and healthier by cycling and scooting, dangerous emissions are reduced which benefits everyone.

“To make this happen on a large scale the government must transform our towns and cities into places where cycling and walking is the natural choice for journeys to school and work. Only by doing this can we hope to prevent the thousands of deaths caused by air pollution and at the same time make the nation healthier.”

The Big Pedal competition is set to conclude on Friday.

For more information on the event or for tips on cycling to school, visit www.sustrans.org.uk/bigpedal