Sunday, February 10, 2008

NICE if You Can Get It

the main hall in the Natural History Museum with stairsHat tip to Philip for this - from the Guardian.

Town planners and architects will today be told to give pedestrians and cyclists priority over cars in towns, and to design staircases that make people want to use them, as part of a radical move to make Britons more physically active.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has departed from its usual remit of advising on NHS treatments to produce guidance on the built environment with regard to health.

The guidance was commissioned by the Department of Health, motivated by the obesity, cancers and heart disease that can accompany the sedentary lifestyle. Inactivity, said Mike Kelly, director of Nice's centre for public health excellence, was estimated to cost roughly £8.2bn a year. He said 150 years ago planning had brought about fundamental shifts in public health by producing the conditions that helped eradicate certain infectious diseases. "This is a different problem that needs equally concerted action."

But it is only guidance, it is not binding on Town Planners. I have sent the complete article to Cllr Prince, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration & Environment asking him to confirm that our planning department are aware of this guidance. I’ll post a comment if I get a reply.


  1. The spirit appears partly willing, but the flesh, as so often, is weak.

    What sounds great in theory, may take decades to filter through into practice.

    If actions speak louder than words, why is "transition city" Bristol going backwards, with the Council threatening to wreck Britain's first ever traffic-free cycle path by running an express busway for commuters down it?

    Suitably spun and greenwashed, of course.

  2. The following reply was dated 7th Feb, the same date that I emailed Cllr Prince. The delay has been that Cllr Prince missed it and I had to remind him.

    Dear Cllr Prince,
    Our existing and our new Redbridge Plan supports cycling through cycling parking planning conditions. Our colleagues in E&BS promote and develop cycles facilities (lanes/routes/public parking).We actively support the Green Grid which is a net work of open space links both for wildlife and walkers across the whole of North and east London. In our town centres we constantly support development of improved street scape and town square improvement (obviously including Unity and Station Plaza) to support pedestrian access - we recently produced a draft streetscape which of course priorities peds. Our over all planning policies favour and support ped and cycle movement and access. We do demand lifts to comply with disable access needs - in public and large/high buildings. Our parking and servicing policies balance public demand for cars and promotion of more sustainable lifestyles.

    Hope this helps
    Marc Dorfman CPRO