Twenty-seven percent of children and 61% of adults in Scotland do not meet recommended levels of physical activity. Physical inactivity is known to increase the risk of developing a number of conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer. Obesity levels in Scotland are increasing. In 2012, 27% of adults were obese and 16.8% of children were at risk of obesity (weight at or above 95th percentile). In Aberdeenshire obese/morbidly obese (with a BMI of >30) has increased for both genders in almost all age groups between 1995 and 2013. Walking and cycling for everyday short journeys is the easiest and cheapest way of building more physical activity into busy lives. It helps to protect against physical ill health and helps to maintain good mental health.
Evidence from engagement highlighted the importance within Kincardine & Mearns that communities have the possibility to travel actively, with walking or cycling the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys. This helps people make healthy living choices and assists in delivering places that are happier, more inclusive and equal, and more prosperous. Travelling by foot or cycle, or with a personal mobility aid such as a mobility scooter, is a realistic option for all local journeys as individuals. People are confident to walk and cycle more often and they value and use their local transport networks (streets, roads and path networks), which offer safe, high quality, realistic and predictable journey options for active travel. Achieving this vision will help us to move towards the following objectives: Better health and safer travel for all; environments in which walking and cycling are easy choices will be safer for everyone, promote healthy living choices, treat and prevent disease and reduce health inequalities. Reducing inequalities; access to jobs, services and leisure will be widened for all – including children, older people, and people with disabilities and people on low incomes.
Cutting carbon emissions and other pollution; more people choosing to walk and cycle will reduce pollution from motorised travel and so help tackle climate change and improve air quality. Delivering liveable, more pleasant communities; places that are pleasant and practical for walking and cycling, with better pedestrian and cyclist safety will improve people’s lives in many ways, including feeling connected to the community. Communities where people value and use the active travel network, comprising streets, roads and path networks. Supporting delivery of sustainable economic growth; places that are designed for walking and cycling are generally more attractive. K&M’s communities will benefit from this, becoming more desirable places to live and work so helping attract investment and economic activity.
Focus on active travel routes, ensuring cycle and footpaths in Kincardine & Mearns are developed and improved.