NICE urges councils to do more to promote cycling for public health

Govt's National Institute for Clinical Excellence Identifies "road dangers and the perception of road dangers" as barriers to riding

by Sarah Barth   January 26, 2013  

Family touring on the Reivers Route near Newcastleton (copyright Carlton Reid).png

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has called on local councils to do more to promote cycling.

In a briefing designed to give a range of advice to councils on public health matters, NICE stresses the importance of cycling as a means of addressing the ‘major public health risk’ associated with physical inactivity.

Some of the barriers identified by NICE include "road dangers and the perception of road dangers". Perceptive, non?

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE told the Local Gov website: ‘We hope that this practical advice will help local government to make the best use of limited funds, with the potential to save resources while improving the health of local people.’

Local transport minister Norman Baker, who is Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport, said: ‘Making it easier for people to engage in active travel also benefits the local environment by reducing the amount of traffic on our roads.’

The NICE report stresses the need for new planning applications that ‘should support walking and cycling to prioritise the need for people to be physically active as a routine part of their life’, but apart from that there's precious little detail about what can be done by local councils, especially considering the cuts to local government as part of the Coalition government's austerity drive.

5 user comments

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Many councils already have commitments in their planning policy to prioritise walking and cycling over cars. Doesn't often happen. We need action, not only nice words from NICE.

posted by a.jumper [723 posts]
27th January 2013 - 1:08

9 Likes

Sarah, you've missed the significance of this one and your conclusions are unnecessarily pessimistic.

This announcement follows on from the publication of PH41, guidance on local measures to promote walking and cycling, last November. The guidance was put together following a review of published research, in a rigorous scientific way (i.e. weak evidence and doubtful trials were discarded).

PH41 was very clear about councils breaking out of silo thinking – highways engineers are obsessed with time-saving benefits to motorists when justifying changes whereas there are far better cost benefit rations from investing in cycling and walking measures due to savings in healthcare costs. Physical inactivity costs the NHS £1bn each year and treating obesity another £5bn.

Government has already announced that new money will be available to councils to take on their new responsibility for public health. It's also significant that health budget money can be invested in measures to increase walking and cycling. For example, Buckinghamshire has had its funding doubled to £30 per resident.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
27th January 2013 - 15:04

16 Likes

Thanks for the detail, Campag!

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1055 posts]
27th January 2013 - 16:06

13 Likes

Its not just the obesity problem, but all the lifestyle induced illnesses......It's the start of what I have been saying at work for a long time...there will be increasing pressure on the containment of healthcare costs and healthcare will move to being more about prevention as opposed to cure/continued treatment of chronic conditions.

The pharma industry love chronic conditions as it ensures a steady source of revenue...

posted by Britinbe [2 posts]
27th January 2013 - 17:47

8 Likes

Campag_10 wrote:
Sarah, you've missed the significance of this one and your conclusions are unnecessarily pessimistic.

This announcement follows on from the publication of PH41, guidance on local measures to promote walking and cycling, last November. The guidance was put together following a review of published research, in a rigorous scientific way (i.e. weak evidence and doubtful trials were discarded).

PH41 was very clear about councils breaking out of silo thinking – highways engineers are obsessed with time-saving benefits to motorists when justifying changes whereas there are far better cost benefit rations from investing in cycling and walking measures due to savings in healthcare costs. Physical inactivity costs the NHS £1bn each year and treating obesity another £5bn.

Government has already announced that new money will be available to councils to take on their new responsibility for public health. It's also significant that health budget money can be invested in measures to increase walking and cycling. For example, Buckinghamshire has had its funding doubled to £30 per resident.

Road.CC Pessimistic?! Non! Thanks to Campag for telling the other side of the story, the one we should be hearing in the first instance. Road.CC seem to love the doom and gloom slant

posted by Andyd64 [13 posts]
29th January 2013 - 9:29

11 Likes