Monday, 8 December 2014

Everybody Active, Every Day

Public Health England’s (PHE) new “Everybody active, every day’ is an initiative aimed at addressing the nation’s physical inactivity ‘epidemic’ that’s responsible for 1 in 6 deaths at an estimated annual cost of £7.4 billion.  A staggering 45% of women and 33% of men are not active enough to maintain good health.
 



PHE’s aim is to get more adults taking at least 150 minutes of physical exercise a week. Providing a better infrastructure for cycling and encouraging more to cycle is high on PHE’s list of five steps local areas should be focusing on.

It’s no coincidence that the two countries with the best activity rates, Holland and Germany also have high rates of cycling and far healthier populations.

Push Bike!, is working to encourage the County and District Councils to take these issues seriously and start to reverse decades of poor planning decisions and highway design that have only served to encourage car dependent and sedentary lifestyles.

In doing so it will be important for planners, highway engineers, schools and primary care practitioners to work collaboratively in delivering the step change that’s needed if local health outcomes are to be improved. Local businesses, supported by the Chamber and LEP, could also be doing their bit to encourage employees to be more active and walk or cycle to work.

Push Bike! is specifically calling for the County Council, with its Highway and Public Health responsibilities to take up the invitation in the Government’s new Cycling Delivery Plan to set out long term ambitions for substantially increasing cycling (and walking) levels in Worcestershire.

That said none of us need to wait for public intervention. Its important we all take greater personal responsibility for ensuring we adopt more active and healthier lifestyles. So, as New Year approaches why not set yourself the target of getting a minimum of 150 minutes physical activity every week. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Cycle Delivery Plan


On 16th October, the Department for Transport (DfT.) issued the long-awaited draft
of a cross-departmental document, the "Cycling Delivery Plan" (for England)
(www..gov.uk/consultations/cycling-delivery-plan-informal-consultation) and
there followed a period of four weeks for consultation, with Push Bike!
being present at the East/West Midlands event, therefore able to provide
opinion and ideas for change/improvement.

The Plan attempts to set out a background from which there will follow a
substantial increase in cycling, as witnessed in London, thereby benefiting the
rest of the Country. A ten year vision is assumed and this will especially involve
partnership with local authorities. However, there is a glaring omission, on the
aspect of funding, for which a minimum spend of £10 per annum per head of
population, had been envisaged by the major cycling organisations/charities in
England. Current spending, outside London, averages only £2 per person, less
in areas which have not set a budget for cycling. The Chancellor's Autumn
Statement is scheduled for 3rd. December and, along with other groups,
Push Bike! has been campaigning for the allocation of meaningful and sustained
funding for cycling, rather than the occasional bursts, much of which finds its way
to the larger cities or national parks.

This investment would enable us to catch up with Germany or Denmark,
where levels of cycling are currently substantially higher than the UK's 2%.
The overall total for such expenditure would be a very small percentage of the
commitment to the roads programme (£24bn.) or HS2 (£40bn.) and would bring
economic, health and tourism benefits, also allowing people to move around the
Country in a more environmentally friendly way. 

The Plan falls short on a number of other factors, not least the lack of design skills,
amongst those responsible for highway infrastructure and, thus, cycleway provision.

With the consultation period having now ended the DfT. is set to produce a
reworking of the Plan, in which it is hoped many (if not all) of the ideas and
comments emanating from the Consultations will be adopted. If so, the future for
Cycling in England looks more promising.

______________________________________________

On the campaign front, please contact your local councillor and persuade she or
he to sign up to "Space for Cycling" (look at www.space4cycling.org.uk to find
out more). Over 1,200 councillors across the Country have now become involved,
providing cyclists with greater support and influence.


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