NICE Calls On Councils To Help People To Walk & Cycle

WEF and its 'sustainable transport' member groups welcomed new guidance

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Wandsworth Cycling Campaign:
(WCC) local group in the Borough of Wandsworth of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). LCC is the world's largest urban cycle campaigning group, with 11,000 paid-up members, of whom 735 live in our borough. Wandsworth Cycling Campaign's vision is for Wandsworth to be a borough in which cycling is a natural transport choice for everyone. Follow on twitter

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The Putney Society,
The Battersea Society,
The Wandsworth Society, Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, Wandsworth Living Streets, Wandsworth Older People's Forum, Transition Town Tooting.

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Wandsworth Environment Forum (WEF) and its 'sustainable transport' member groups welcomed new guidance issued this week by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) calling on local authorities to support people seeking to walk and cycle as part of an active lifestyle.

Faced with an 'epidemic of inactivity' that threatens to overwhelm the health services. Research shows that adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, on most days, in order to stay healthy. WEF believes that the easiest way in which this can be done as part of a busy lifestyle is through active travel - walking or cycling for local journeys rather than taking the car or bus. Many local people are trying to do this – vehicle miles driven in Wandsworth have dropped by 28% from 1998 to 2011, even though the population has increased by 18% – but many are understandably put off by the design of our streets which often make it difficult and unpleasant to move around on foot or by bicycle.

Now NICE is calling on councils to support active travel in how they provide local services, including how they build and maintain our streets, by putting the needs of pedestrians and cyclists first. The new guidance contains a number of specific areas in which councils and other authorities can support people choosing active travel and provides the evidence showing the benefits. WEF strongly encourages Wandsworth Council to act on the NICE guidance, particularly since councils will be directly responsible for improving the health of the public from next April.

Susie Morrow, Chair of Wandsworth Living Streets and a member of the NICE group which developed the Walking and Cycling guidance, said:
"If walking and cycling became the norm for short journeys, many of our traffic-related problems in Wandsworth, including the growing health burden resulting from physical inactivity, would be effectively addressed. If implemented, the NICE guidance has the potential to improve the quality of life of Wandsworth residents. What's needed now is the political will to ensure that the guidance is taken up."

Jon Irwin, co-chair WEF, added:
"The guidance is there, the knowledge of the issues is there, what is required is local leadership to ensure that the changes required are prioritised and made to happen. Creating high quality walking / cycle streets doesn't have to be expensive, and will deliver massive return on investment both for the local economy and indeed significant reductions in local health costs. Campaigners and more importantly local residents shouldn't have to wait any longer."

Simon Merrett, Chair of Wandsworth Cycling Campaign, said:
"We are pleased that the benefits of cycling and walking have been spelled out so clearly by an authoritative body such as NICE. Walking and cycling are a major part of the solution to many problems we face in Wandsworth. WCC looks forward to working with Wandsworth Council and other relevant organisations to help deliver a borough in which everyone, from 8 to 80, feels able and safe to cycle."

 


November 29, 2012