CHESHIRE West and Chester Council wants to adopt greener modes of transport to and from schools in the area.

It has joined forces with European partners to challenge schools across the European Community to launch the Sustainable Mobility In Learning and Experience (SMILES) initiative which is linked with six schools across the borough.

The schools – Ashton Hayes Primary, Guilden Sutton Primary, Upton Heath Primary, Hartford Manor Community Primary, Belgrave Primary and Chester Catholic High schools – are working with London schools and European partners from Spain, Sweden and Southern Ireland.

A road safety event to launch the initiative was held at Guilden Sutton Primary and included walking, cycling and safety messages, and there will be more events held at all the schools enrolled in the project.

Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for community and environment, said: “Project SMILES will offer individual support to everyone who has enrolled as a Smiles School, with help and support to boost the number of pupils who travel to school, using modes of transport other than the car.

“Through the SMILES programme, we are offering a free tailor-made package of green travel measures, including events, pupil and parent incentives, increased walk to school days and Bikeability training.

“And sometimes alternative ways of getting to school mean extra time in bed compared to sitting in a car or bus that is stuck in traffic.”

Some of the benefits of pupils travelling by alternative modes of transport other than the car include:

Improved health and fitness of the school community.

Improved safety of the journey to school.

Reduction in traffic congestion outside the school gates.

Reduction in atmospheric pollution.

Increase in children’s independence and social interaction.

More alert pupils meaning increased concentration throughout the school day.