Policy Scan

Sustrans Policy Scan is a regular summary of key policy thinking, reports, announcements and consultations:

Sustrans says
Sustrans press comments, reports and campaigns relating to policy

Key developments
Relevant government and other organisations’ policy/reports/campaigns

Consultations and inquiries
Sustrans' responses and upcoming consultations

Latest Policy Scan - July 2016 (pdf)

Sustrans says

More action for clean air needed (05/07/16) On the 60th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, Sustrans is calling for more action to improve air quality. While we've made some positive changes since 1956 by cleaning up pollutants from coal burning we've also seen road traffic levels increase considerably. In the UK there was 10 times more traffic on the road in 2012 than in 1949. This increase in motor traffic is having a serious impact on air quality and on our health and we welcome proposals from the new Mayor of London to do more to tackle air pollution.

Our greenways guide is first in UK (12/07/16) We're excited to announce that we've published our Greenway Management Handbook - the UK’s first ever guide on how to manage traffic free cycle and walking routes or ‘greenways’ for both people and wildlife. The handbook is based on our 20 years of experience managing the National Cycle Network and provides an introduction to maintaining hard and soft infrastructure along greenways, with advice about to improve the management of routes to create wildlife corridors too.

Active School Travel Programme extended until 2021 (08/07/16) Sustrans is delighted to have been awarded the contract to deliver the Active School Travel programme until 2021 in Northern Ireland.  The £2.25 million programme, jointly funded by the Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency (PHA), helps to increase physical activity in children, reduce congestion around schools, and so improve health and road safety awareness.  The Programme began in 2013 and since then 191 schools have enrolled with more than 60,000 children taking part.

Key developments

More cycling and walking, less driving (05/07/16) The UK Faculty of Public Health calls for a major shift away from cars in favour of walking, cycling and public transport. Recommendations to support active travel include

·         Support sustainable and safe travel to and from venues, e.g. schools, colleges and workplaces

·         Keep cycle lanes in good condition

·         Provide cycle training for children in school and offer 1:1 training for adults

·         Provide a subsidised cycle loan scheme and free maintenance checks and advice

·         Support active travel routes to and from major event venues

Local area walking and cycling in England: 2014-2015 (12/07/16) The Department for Transport released its annual figures for walking and cycling statistics in England. The percentage of people walking frequently in England has increased significantly for a second consecutive year. Cycling prevalence in England has remained broadly constant although there is considerable variation amongst local authorities.

Physical Activity and Health: Working Together to get the Nation Moving (08/07/16) The Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive have launched Physical Activity and Health: Working Together to get the Nation Moving. This new report explores the current public health landscape in England and how the sport, recreation and physical activity sector can work alongside health to get more people active, more often.

Making a Difference: Investing in Sustainable Health and Well-being for the People of Wales (14/07/16) a new Public Health Wales report highlights 10 key areas for action that Wales should prioritise to enable significant improvements in our health and wellbeing, a reduction in inequalities, and a maximum return on investment for our economy.  The report makes the case that investing in the prevention of poor health would result in healthy outcomes for our population, and far-reaching benefits across all aspects of our society and our lives.

Hundreds of London schools exceed legal air quality levels (01/07/16) New figures released by the Mayor of London reveal the full extent of the cities air quality crises with 433 schools across London exceeding legal air pollution limits. The new Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed a series of ambitious measures to clean up London’s air currently being consulted upon.

Longitudinal associations of active commuting with body mass index (13/06/16) Report in Preventive Medicine provides further evidence of the contribution of active commuting, particularly cycling, to preventing weight gain or facilitating weight loss. The findings may be valuable for employees choosing how to commute and engaging employers in the promotion of active travel.

Programme launched for 2016 Polis Conference (30/06/16) The 2016 Polis Conference, Innovation in Transport for Sustainable Cities and Regions, will be held in Rotterdam on 1-2 December 2016.

Motives, perceptions and experiences of electric bicycle owners (22/06/16) Dr Adrian Davis finds that electric-bikes could contribute to healthy mobility by enabling riders to incorporate moderate exercise into everyday travel routines. They could also help to increase accessibility for people unable or reluctant to use conventional cycles.

Physical activity report card for Scotland (21/06/16) Active Healthy Kids Scotland has published a ‘state of the nation’ report card on the physical activity and health of Scottish children and adolescents. The report card looks at ten health indicators around physical activity and health behaviours, settings and influences on physical activity.

Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025 (2016) The World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe prepared this strategy focusing on physical activity as a leading factor in health and well-being in the European Region, with particular attention to the burden of non-communicable diseases associated with insufficient activity levels and sedentary behaviour.

Physical Activity and Lifestyle announced as a clinical priority by the RCGP (27/06/16) The Royal College of General Practitioners has announced that Physical Activity and Lifestyle will be a clinical priority for the next three years. 

Physical activity in children (05/07/16) A report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine from the Copenhagen Consensus Conference.  Twenty-four researchers have published an evidence-based consensus about physical activity in children and youth (6-18 years). It presents the accord on physical activity and children and young people in terms of fitness, health, cognitive function, engagement, motivation, psychological wellbeing and social inclusion as well as presenting educational and physical activity implementation strategies.

Consultations and inquiries

Sustrans responses

  • N/A

Upcoming consultations and inquiries


Health and wellbeing


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