A new running track made from a recycled Shropshire road is now in use at Criftins Primary School, near Ellesmere.

Constructed using recycled road planings from the resurfacing of the B4499 Hogstow Bank near Minsterley, it’s the first of 15 such tracks being built at primary schools across Shropshire to help children meet the Daily Mile Challenge to walk or run a mile every day.

A second track is already underway at Cockshutt Primary School, and this is set to be completed and in use by 25 January 2019.

Construction of the tracks has been made possible thanks to the government’s ‘sugar tax’ and the efforts of staff from Shropshire Council, WSP and Kier – partners in the Shropshire Highways alliance.

Construction of the track at Criftins began in early December 2018. Markings are due to be painted on the track shortly, and this will be done at the same time as the markings are painted on the Cockshutt running track.

A further track is due to created at Kinnerley Primary School.

Nick Bardsley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I’m delighted that the first track is now in use at Criftins, with a second to be completed shortly at Cockshutt Primary, and a further 13 to follow in the coming months.

"The tracks really will provide the schools with health and educational learning benefits for their pupils, in terms of both physical and mental well-being."

The 15 tracks will be constructed from a total of 1,500 tonnes of recycled Shropshire roads. In each case the track will be made of unwanted materials from road maintenance work being carried out close to the school.

In addition, a number of improvements to each school’s facilities will also be carried out while the tracks are being constructed, including maintaining forest schools, maintaining school gardens, refreshing playground markings, repairing raised plant beds, and repainting car park markings.

In total, 4,000 children are set to benefit from the project, which will enable each child to walk or run a total of 285km in each academic year, at a cost of just £1.30 per pupil per year.

The idea for the tracks came about earlier this year when Shropshire Council received £226,572 from the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF) – which is funded through the ‘sugar tax’ grant. Of the total grant, £105,000 was set aside to provide school running tracks – to help children meet the ‘Daily Mile challenge’ to walk or run a mile every day.

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I want to thank everyone involved for helping to make these running tracks a reality. It’s brilliant that our partners WSP and Kier are donating time and materials to aid children’s fitness, and that we can put our old and unwanted road materials to such good use.

“I know that WSP, Kier and their subcontractors Tarmac and L & R Roadlines, are thrilled to bring their expertise to this fantastic project. While the construction of the tracks is reasonably straightforward, the real challenge has been the logistics of linking the construction of the tracks to Shropshire’s highway maintenance programme. This has required meticulous planning and close collaboration between all parties. By constructing the tracks in this way, we have been able to provide, on average a 60 per cent cost saving, making the grant go further and requiring no additional financial input from the schools themselves.”