Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities, our partner on the Havering project writes:
As Government moves public health from PCTs to local authorities (where it was when local authorities were hatched in the 19th century), those authorities are often struggling to appreciate what this “new responsibility means. There is though a growing realisation that professionals in both camps can learn from each other.
Public health has been at the forefront of getting people to be more active over the last decade, including encouraging cycling and walking. This added focus of responsibility could provide a much needed boost for local authority cycling and pedestrian officers. Some local authorities have already embraced public health colleagues, e.g. the London Borough of Greenwich (soon to be a Royal Borough) which now has an NHS funded Active Travel officer in post.
Often the slightest changes in the walking environment can have the biggest effect. Getting the first couple of hundred metres from the doorstep right, can encourage more people to go further on foot, a fact often overlooked by local authorities and housing providers alike. However, there are some good examples, not least where open space strategies have been developed such as in south Islington. The NHS are also leading on motivational interviewing and “making every contact count”, so that whoever you see, nurse, dentist, GP or health visitor, you are encouraged to be more active. Yet for this to be effective individuals need to know where they can walk and cycle safely and what’s within walking or cycling distance. That’s where our expertise can help ……..
Rethinking Cities has developed:
Local destination knowledge maps - 870k PDF
auditing and devising new routes so that people can be confident when they adopt active travel as their first choice of getting around their local area. Add this to the information that can be made available through a Transport Initiatives Cycle Skills Network Audit and you have a walking match made in heaven.
Current news stories