Harrogate schools rewarded for their green travel efforts

This story was published 15 July 2022

Two Harrogate schools have been recognised for their success in encouraging more children and parents to opt to cycle or walk on the school run rather than travel by car.

Three children and 3 adults with a bike receiving their Modeshift STARS award at Harrogate High School

Harrogate High School has gained a Green award in the national Modeshift STARS accreditation scheme while Harrogate College has received a Bronze award.

Modeshift STARS recognises schools that demonstrate excellence in promoting, supporting and increasing sustainable and active travel within their school, so improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “It’s great to see students, parents and staff recognised for their efforts to encourage sustainable and healthy ways of travelling to school.

“Young people and their families have embraced opportunities to walk, cycle or share vehicles – an example we can all follow to improve the environment, promote active lifestyles and tackle congestion.”

Executive member for climate change, Cllr Greg White, added: “Climate change is an issue that affects us all, and the county council is committed to achieving net carbon neutrality within its own services. It’s heartening to see our young people taking a lead in this way and spreading the message about the environmental and health benefits of active and sustainable travel among their peers and their communities.”

Action taken by Harrogate College to achieve its award includes promoting and encouraging car sharing, offering a cycle to work scheme, providing Active Travel Harrogate maps at reception and having a bespoke Travel to Harrogate College leaflet available to download on the college website.

Holly Hansen-Maughan, partnerships and development manager at Harrogate College, said: “Sustainable travel and transport is just one part of the college’s commitment to sustainability. We are continually finding ways to educate our students and staff on becoming more environmentally friendly, so it’s great that our work is being recognised again by the Modeshift STARS award.

“We are dedicated to empowering young people by enhancing their understanding of environmental issues, and recently offered carbon literacy training to all staff and students. We also encourage learners to participate in the environmental campaigns and activities we run through our enrichment programme.”

Harrogate High School has used the Modeshift STARS Award as a tool to help to plan how staff and students intend to develop travel awareness, and to develop a programme of activities to promote sustainable travel.

Catherine Wright, school development officer, said: “As a school, our Harrogate High students are very aware of the threat to our planet and the importance of doing their bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is fantastic that so many students – 85 per cent – cycle or walk to school on a daily basis. However, we can always do more to increase student knowledge and help to empower students to make good choices in every area, so we will continue to encourage each student to consider travelling actively and sustainably to school.”

Year 11 student Harry Brown added: “It's vitally important for schools to encourage students to use sustainable travel to attend school as habits developed at a young age, such as walking instead of driving, remain for a lifetime. In order to achieve net zero, we all have a moral duty to do as much as we can to reduce our environmental footprint. The Modeshift travel accreditation scheme allows realistic changes to be achieved and helps to promote sustainability to young people. Since participating in the scheme, students have become more aware of the importance of sustainable travel and our bike sheds are now regularly overflowing.”

Every school in the county has the opportunity to register for free and plan sustainable travel initiatives to achieve their Modeshift STARS award. Schools can reach five levels: green, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Schools interested in joining the scheme can contact the county council’s sustainable travel team at opennorthyorkshire@northyorks.gov.uk

The team can also provide fully funded support to businesses to work towards national Modeshift STARS Business accreditation. It can support businesses in creating a travel plan to promote and encourage active travel to work, to help achieve net zero targets. Any business owners who would like to know more can email opennorthyorkshire@northyorks.gov.uk