Year five pupils from Emmbrook Junior School had a talk about greenways from Wokingham Borough Council’s public rights of ways manager, Andrew Fletcher, on Friday 25 June 2021.
Last term, the pupils had been learning about persuasive writing and sent letters to the council raising some concerns over the council’s plans for a greenway in the local area.
The Greenways Project is creating a network of mostly traffic free routes across the borough, to give residents a more sustainable alternative to cars when travelling around the area. The greenways will be suitable for a range of uses such as walking, running, wheelchairs, skateboarding, cycling and rollerblading.
Andrew visited the school and gave a presentation to pupils on why greenways are important and the impact that car use has on the environment, as well as the sustainable materials used to create the paths. The children were able to ask questions and explore the materials used for building the greenways.
Andrew said: “The children were really engaged and had a lively chat about what they thought about greenways. They asked lots of questions, so I was able to talk to them about things that were important to them, such as wildlife, how long works will take and disruption.
“Our greenways are permeable, allowing water to drain through and I took some samples along that the children enjoyed testing, showing them how, unlike traditional roads and pathways, these are better for the trees, plants and environment.”
Mr User, headteacher of Emmbrook Junior School, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the children taking an active interest in their local community and applying their writing skills to a real-life situation. The children engaged with the presentation and posed some challenging questions to our visitor. It is encouraging to feel the local council is taking into account the views of our young people.”
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “It is fantastic that children are showing an active interest in the process of democracy and their local communities. At Wokingham Borough Council, it is important for us to ensure that all our residents, whatever their age, are listened to, understood and that their views are taken into account.
“Greenways is part of our climate emergency response, giving people alternatives to driving to get around Wokingham Borough for home, work and leisure activities. Where possible, we are using recycled rubber to make the pathways and the technology means we can lay them through wooded areas without digging up tree roots.
“It is really important for the council to move towards a more sustainable future for Wokingham Borough residents. Engaging all ages including children at an early stage in design, purpose and decision making is a really good way of empowering our residents to help to create a greener Wokingham Borough”.
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