An updated version of the Active Planning Toolkit has been launched in Gloucestershire this week to help professionals create buildings and natural environments that support people to get more active.

Originally introduced in 2011, the toolkit provides a practical guide for planners, architects, and developers to help them ‘design in’ features that encourage physical activity. This can include making stairs easy to find, and linking shops and workplaces to walking and cycling networks.

Developed in partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, the University of Gloucestershire and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), the toolkit was designed to implement NICE public health guidance 2008, which provided evidence about the types of environment that encourage physical activity.

Key features of the toolkit include:

  • the latest available evidence from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on physical activity and the environment
  • up-to-date guidance on changes in planning law
  • new case studies highlighting best practice from Gloucestershire and around the UK

Welcoming the update, Dr Hein Le Roux, Commissioning Lead and member of Gloucestershire Health and Wellbeing Board at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group recognises that the built and natural environments in which we live have a huge influence upon how active we are in our daily lives.  Many people are not physically active enough and the health risks of sedentary lifestyles are identified as a growing problem. The CCG is therefore very pleased to be involved in producing an updated version of the Active Planning Toolkit.”

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director, Communities & Infrastructure from Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), said:

“As this toolkit shows, using design so that physical activity becomes an integral part of our daily lives can make a real difference to people’s health. Attractive, well thought out and accessible environments naturally encourage us to walk or cycle, to use the stairs instead of the lift and to make the most of outdoor spaces.”

“Getting people more active more often delivers lasting benefits to people’s health and wellbeing.”

Bren McInerney, Kingfisher Social Enterprise and a Member of the NICE Programme Development Group said:

“The most impressive aspect of the toolkit is its focus on local communities, and this has been evident throughout its development.

I worked with Duncan Jordan, former Group Director, Environment (GCC) on the local implementation group, agreed the local refresh, and having been part of the NICE development group, have seen how this has progressed from a national perspective right down to the local level.

We should all be very proud of taking national work to a local level like this and producing a toolkit that has communities at the heart of its delivery.”

The toolkit can be found on our publications page, here.