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UK government urged to introduce more ‘walkable neighbourhoods’

Children’s safety in cities could be vastly improved if Sustrans, an influential charity that champions non-vehicle mobility, is successful in persuading the UK government to introduce more ‘walkable neighbourhoods’.

As part of its philosophy to help people lead ‘healthier and happier lifestyles’ without the need for a car, it believes there is potential for transport and land-use planning systems in England to be much more integrated.

New homes, it says, should be built within 800 metres, or 20 minutes of walking round trip, of public transport links and basic amenities.

“This goal aims to make it easier for people to embrace a healthier and happier lifestyle in their area, without the need for a car,” it says, and calls for walking and cycling infrastructure and walkable neighbourhoods to be incorporated into planning law and policy in England.

With less vehicles on the road, this initiative would promote healthy living for everyone and would in turn help prevent ill-health. All this would, of course, be a major step towards improving the safety of children as they walk or cycle around their neighbourhoods, or to and from school, and so on.

‘Transport and land planning should be much more joined-up’

Sustrans wants the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to recommend refusing planning permission for new homes that do not contribute to national net zero targets, which are on track to be reached by 2050.

The infrastructure and location of new sites, it says, should facilitate walking, wheeling, or cycling instead of driving to have a positive impact on air quality and people’s health.

“We’re calling for transport and land use planning systems to be much more joined up and within 800 metres, or a 20-minute walking round trip of where new homes are built – high quality and safe walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure should be provided to help create 20-minute neighbourhoods,” adds the charity.

Author: Simon Weedy

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