In our response we praising the aims of the strategy which highlight the benefits of taking regular exercise for physical, mental and social well-being, as well as the wider environmental benefits, and it identifies the impact of inactivity on all ages of the population and the wider costs.
The figures are shocking.
- Nearly 600 deaths a year preventable through physical activity, just within Banes
- £49 million, by next year spent on diseases related to overweight & obesity
It also recognizes that taking regular exercise in the form of walking and cycling is one of the best ways to get in the habit of taking regular exercise.Yet we point out that it does not even mention walking and cycling as a form of transport, which can be incorporated into every day life as central plank of any physically active life-style and eventually only talks of walking and cycling as ‘leisure pursuit’. What it fails to mention is that walking and cycling are good modes of transport which incorporate exercise when traveling to school, shops or work.
Much of what we do in life is from ‘habit’, and many habits form at an early age or by just taking the easiest course of action. We suggest that this strategy should focus on forming the ‘habit’ of walking and cycling in daily life, to school, work or the shops, and to encourage walking and cycling it is important to make these the easiest, most pleasant, and safest mode of travel.
The report notes that 95% of primary school children already own a bike, and 47% of trips to primary school are on foot. It fails to note the 35% of people living in Bath already walk to work, and regular exercise has been shown to improve academic achievement. It asks to ‘think big’ so we have suggest making it safe for all children within 1 mile ie 20 minutes walk of a school and within 2 miles ie 20 minutes cycle safely and easily walk and cycle to school.For both walking and cycling what is needed is safe, separated, pleasant routes following desire lines, well maintained and with priority at all crossings points.
This strategy has the potential to make a real difference and help meet many of Banes other targets especially in Bath. Including enhancing the ‘special character and environment and improving the quality of life for local people’, reduced CO2 emissions, better air quality, and make it a truly visionary place to live, work and visit.
We say ‘THINK BIG’, now we say ‘ACT BIG’.