YOUNGSTERS at an Otley primary are calling for measures to make their school journeys safer.

The Eco Team at Westgate Primary School met with ward councillor Ryk Downes to talk to him about making their school journeys as safe and sustainable as possible. The children told Cllr Downes about how much better it had been walking, cycling and scooting to school since the start of the School Streets initiative last year. the initiative has helped more families to reduce their car use and choose more sustainable forms of travel.

But the scheme is only temporary at present - and pupils asked Cllr Downes to support their aim to make it permanent.

The children also talked to Cllr Downes about the difficulties they face trying to cross West Chevin Road safely. They handed over two petitions that pupils in Year 1 to Year 6 had signed - one to ask for the School Streets initiative to be made permanent and the other to ask for a pedestrian crossing to be installed between Inglewood and Grovehill Park, to provide a safer alternative than the current options. Head teacher Helen Carpenter said: "Eco Team and all of our pupils care a lot about looking after our environment and making healthy choices. Making walking, cycling and scooting to school as safe as possible is essential if families are to be encouraged to ditch their cars more often.

"It was great that Cllr Downes gave his time to come and listen to their concerns today and I really hope that their voices can be heard on these matters."

Cllr Downes said: "It was great to meet some of the pupils and hear their thoughts on safe travel to school. They have a couple of really good ideas and presented me with a petition which I will take to highways.

"I really hope LCC will be able to implement them. I was impressed that Westgate are changing the way pupils are travelling to school with more now walking and cycling, which is great for the environment."

In October Westgate Primary School received a gold award for its commitment to active and sustainable travel.

Given by the national education awards scheme, Modeshift STARS, the school travel awards recognise schools that demonstrate excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other sustainable modes of transport.

To achieve the award, Westgate encouraged its pupils to walk, cycle, scoot or ‘park & stride’ to school by implementing sustainable travel initiatives. It also joined the School Streets scheme, managed by Leeds City Council, which restricts traffic outside primary schools at opening and closing times. This reduces congestion, makes the road safer for children and improves air quality.

The school regularly takes part in road safety training, including pedestrian, scooter and Bikeability workshops.