PARENTS in Hartlepool are being urged to support a campaign that aims to improve safety outside schools and promote healthier lifestyles for pupils.

Officers from Hartlepool Borough Council want parents to walk to school with their children whenever possible and leave their cars at home.

If they have no alternative but to use their cars they are being asked to park well away from school and to complete the remainder of the journey by foot.

Karen Wilkinson, the council's travel plan co-ordinator, said: "Many parents drop their children off at school by car, often causing congestion that can pose a safety hazard.

"If possible, we would like them to leave their cars at home and take their children to school by foot.

"This will improve safety by reducing congestion and also give youngsters a chance to take more exercise."

The council's road safety unit has targeted all 30 of the town's primary schools by sending them wall planners and posters for Walk to School Week, which runs until Friday.

In addition, pupils of the ten primary schools that are working with Ms Wilkinson to develop School Travel Plans - strategies to reduce dependence on the car and promote alternative forms of travel - have been sent stickers and bookmarks.