LAST week, while staying with my dad in the village where I grew up, I had the misfortune to be passing the local primary school at 3pm.

I’ve seen fewer cars on the M62 in rush hour. It was mayhem. I saw one person approaching on foot.

It was all a far cry from my school days, when to arrive by car would have been highly unusual. In fact, to arrive with parents was equally rare. From the age of about seven, we all made our own way there. Granted, the roads were far quieter and safer back then, and I can appreciate why parents want to avoid accidents. I didn’t allow my children to walk to school on their own at that age.

But, unless you have a disability or it is pouring down (and even then you can wear a raincoat and use an umbrella), to ferry children to and from school by car is inexcusable. Those who live too far away and can’t walk the whole way, could park half a mile away and at least walk part of it.

It’s sheer laziness and breeds laziness in children too - an expectation to be dropped off and picked up. No wonder the country has an escalating obesity crisis.

I feel the same sense of disbelief and frustration when I visit the supermarket and see families with trollies laden with ready meals and fizzy drinks bottles the size of water butts. Often, every member of the family is overweight, yet they clearly don’t care.

Yet now such parents are to be rewarded. Boris Johnson is to create a Government-backed rewards scheme for families switching to healthier food and exercising.

The anti-obesity programme will monitor family supermarket spending via an app, rewarding those who reduce their calorie intake with discounts, free tickets or other incentives.

Those increasing their exercise or taking part in organised events or walking to school will accumulate extra ‘points’ in the app.

It seems wrong to me that people who stick two fingers up to a healthy lifestyle are given incentives to change that. These families are not stupid, they know what is healthy and what is not. They watch TV, where we are bombarded with programmes on how to live well. There are enough warnings, and some people will take heed of them, yet many don’t take heed.

Surely it would be better to offer rewards - and rewards worth having, not two-for one at some dreary theme park in a down-at-heel seaside resort - to those who do live healthily and are not a drain on the NHS?

Half-price visits to top attractions would go down well, money off holidays, or cheap gym membership. The possibilities are endless.

Maybe others would then feel they were missing out and actually make efforts to change. Parents can and should revise their habits. They owe it to their children, but many don’t seem to be able to grasp this and continue filling their fridges with pizzas and pop, and never doing anything that could vaguely be classed as exercise.

Why should people who try hard to stay fit and healthy, who walk their children to school every day, get ignored?

On the last day of summer term, a teacher in Norwich walked 14 miles to his school, to encourage parents and children to ditch the car and come to school on foot.

James Roberts decided to practice what he preached at the culmination of a project he set up at Easter called ‘The Green Machine’ that encouraged parents and children to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

Boris, he’s the sort of person who should be rewarded.