Milton Keynes has been dished up a big fat cash incentive to shed its reputation as the most overweight city in the UK.
The government has granted £420,000 for the council to persuade people to ditch their cars for short journeys and either get on their bikes or walk.
Now council officers plan to target thousands of households with leaflets showing “travel plans” using Milton Keynes network of redway routes.
They will encourage employers to promote walking or cycling to work, hold special cycle training sessions throughout the summer and even offer “fun and friendly” rewards for communities who take the healthy option.
Council leader Pete Marland said: “Milton Keynes has the reputation of being the UK’s fattest city and we need to do something about that.
“We need to get people active so they will live longer and healthier lives. This money will go a long way towards doing that.”
At the same time the council has launched its own multi-million pound programme to light up redways and roads with energy efficient LED lighting.
Some three quarters of the adult population of Milton Keynes is overweight, while almost a quarter of them are categorised as obese.
Children’s weight is also a problem, with 22.1 per cent of five-year-olds and 32.4 per cent of 11-year-olds at Milton Keynes schools found to be overweight or obese.