Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence




`Walking the way to health' initiative

  "Walking the way to health" is an initiative of the British Heart Foundation and the Countryside Agency. It benefits from extra funding from the New Opportunities Fund and sponsorship from Kia Cars as part of their "Think Before you Drive" campaign. The initiative aims to improve the health and fitness of more than a million people, especially those who do little exercise or who live in areas of poor health. The initiative started in England in October 2000 and will run for five years.

  Source: http:/—01.htm

Health Walks, Sonning Common

  The "Health walks" project was set up by Dr Williams Bird, a GP in the Village of Sonning Common in Oxfordshire. The aim of the project is to improve people's fitness and well-being by encouraging them to use their local countryside for walking to achieve a greater level of fitness. The project started nearly five years ago and the walks have been running for nearly four years. To date over 1,750 walks have been organised and over 800 local people have taken part. Information gathered from the walks is used by Oxford Brookes University School for Health Care Studies to evaluate the effect walking has on fitness levels.

  Sonning Common: reported barriers to walking as exercise

    —  People did not think that walking was proper exercise.

    —  Concern about getting lost.

    —  Over 70 per cent of the women felt vulnerable when out alone.

  Health walks: the positive impact.

    —  People now walk for short journeys rather than use their cars.

    —  Increased awareness of fitness levels.

    —  Enjoyment of exercise.

    —  Knowledge of the benefits of brisk walking.

    —  Awareness of the benefits of regular exercise.

  Health walks: Reported health benefits.

    —  About ten per cent reported decrease levels of illness.

    —  About 25 per cent reported reduced their stress levels.

    —  About 60 per cent reported higher stamina levels.

    —  About 55 per cent reported higher energy levels.

  Source: Health Walks, Sonning Common,

The Green Gym

  The Green Gym is a unique health group that exercises its participants in the countryside or open spaces. It offers a new way to get fit and healthy, providing an exciting alternative for people who may not like the idea of joining a sports centre or gym. Spending time outside with the Green Gym is known to reduce stress levels and in addition to improving health, provides the opportunity of meeting new people and learning new skills.


Sustainable Access to Leisure Sites and Amenities (SALSA) Project, London Borough of Ealing

  The Sustainable Access to Leisure Sites and Amenities (SALSA) project has a primary aim of reducing the number of short urban leisure trips (primarily "escort" trips) undertaken by car, in targeted areas of the London Borough of Ealing.

  The project sought to achieve this reduction in car based trips by increasing the level of children's independent mobility and activity levels, through the provision of networks of safe routes for walking and cycling. The design of these routes was based upon extensive and innovative methods of community consultation and participation to ensure they met the requirements of the prospective users and helped to overcome the existing barriers to sustainable independent mobility.

  Source: Sustainable Access to Leisure Sites and Amenities (SALSA) Project, London Borough of Ealing

Walking Bus, Wheatfield School, St Albans, Hertfordshire

  The "school run" has been highlighted as a major concern in previous Government policy papers. Solutions such as the Walking Bus at Wheatfield School in St Albans, Hertfordshire were devised.

  The "bus" is two volunteer parents—one to "drive" and one to "conduct", a trolley to carry school bags and instruments and a line of school children in reflective clothing. The bus is "driven" with leg power. There are "bus stops" where children can join the walk. Pupils get a sticker every time they use the "bus", which can be exchanged for stationery and books at the school bookshop. The Walking Bus keeps children and parent volunteers fit and reduces traffic and fumes near school.

  Source: "The only way to travel", Guardian Education, November 1998

Moneyrea Primary School, Northern Ireland

  The first Walking Bus in Northern Ireland; a Department of Environment Road Safety Initiative, started up recently at Moneyrea Primary School.

  The children each receive a membership card which is stamped every time they join the bus. When they have collected a set number, they received a prize, motivating them to keep walking. It's stamp collecting with a difference—giving both children and the environment a chance of a cleaner bill of health and safety.

  Source: "Catching on—walking buses beat the school run.", Interactive, May/June 2000

Involving Young Citizens Equally (IYCE) Initiative, Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council

  The IYCE Initiative was established in 1997 to develop ways in which children and young people could influence the practice, provision and policy development of local public services. IYCE is a partnership between Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council, Calerdale and Kirklees Health Authority and Save the Children Fund. The initiative revolves around changing services from within, to create long-term cultural change, which values the involvement of children and young people as a routine way of working.

  The initiative explored ways in which the Highways service could involve children in service planning and delivery. Four separate methods of consultation were chosen in order to find out the children's own opinion on their route to school.

  In each school a core group of pupils was established although every child was given an opportunity to participate.

  The following methods were used:

    —  Graffiti Wall: each child within the school was given pieces of paper which resembled bricks. Each child was then asked to write down on the brick issues about their route to school. The bricks were then placed onto a large wall in school.

    —  Peer video interviews: the core group devised their own questions to find out other children's' opinions of their journeys to and from school. The core group acted as the interviewers and video camera operator.

    —  Suggestion slip: each child was asked to tick boxes to say if they agreed with the views of the core group. The children were then asked to write down anything else that they thought could be improved on their journey to and from school.

    —  Prioritising with photographs: photographs were taken of nine areas of concern discussed by the core group. Each class was visited in turn and the children were asked to prioritise the two issues that were most important to themselves, with coloured stickers.

  The Safe Routes to School pilot project started as a highways service project, however it became evident that probably half the issues would require joint working with other services and agencies to resolve them.

  Children's awareness of their immediate surroundings has grown through their involvement in this project.

  The key issues appear to be litter and lack of litter bins on routes, hypodermic needles seen on routes, directing cars away from school or slowing them down and additional assisted crossing areas such as school crossing patrols and pelican/zebra crossings.

  Source: "Safe Routes to School" Newsletter No. 13, Sustrans, Autumn 2000

Don't Choke Britain

  Don't Choke Britain is a campaign that attempts to raise public awareness of the problems of congestion and pollution caused by the current unsustainable growth in road traffic. Government forecasts in 1997 suggested that over the next 20 years car traffic could grow by more than a third, van and lorry traffic is forecast to grow even faster. Don't Choke Britain encourages people to try an alternative to the car, to travel to and from work at least once a week during the month of June.

  The national campaign is managed through an Advisory Group which includes representatives from the Passenger Transport Executive Group, DETR, the Local Government Association, Environment Agency, Unison, Environmental Transport Association, Cyclists Tourists Club, Highways Agency, the Pedestrians Association, British Lung Foundation and the SMMT. The campaign message has always been to encourage motorists to try, at least once a week during the month of June, an alternative to the car to travel to and from work. The alternatives includes not just the bus, train or Metro but walking or cycling, as well as car sharing. If there are no alternatives to using the car then motorists could try making their journeys outside of the rush hour when there should be less stopping and starting and hence less pollution.


Greenways and Quiet Roads

  Greenways and Quiet Roads are two initiatives from the Countryside Agency which aim to give better mobility and access for people on foot, bike or horseback or for people with disabilities. Greenways are a network of largely car free off-road routes connecting people to facilities and open spaces in and around towns, cities and to the countryside.

  Quiet roads are minor rural roads, already lightly trafficked where extra traffic measures will improve their attractiveness for non-motorised users.

  Both initiatives are part of the Countryside Agency's transport work and will assist integrated transport policies.


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Prepared 29 June 2001