Trial car-free housing developments, urge child health experts05/02/2009 News
Children’s Commissioner Keith Towler chaired a debate set up by Play Wales and sustainable transport charity Sustrans in an attempt to reverse the decline of children’s activity levels.
New research has shown that between 1973 and 2006, the proportion of children playing out on the streets fell from 75 per cent to 15 per cent.
The event heard from Minister for Sustainability Jane Davidson AM, Millennium Centre architect Jonathan Adams of Capita Percy Thomas and representatives from groups including the South Wales Highway Development Control Forum and building contractor Leadbitter.
Sustrans and Play Wales called on planning authorities to lead the UK in creating housing which gives a high quality of life for all its residents, particularly children and young people.
Sustrans Cymru Director Lee Waters said: “The lack of opportunity for children to play safely in their own street is causing an obesity epidemic which puts Wales near the top of the world’s fat league tables. “Too many urban areas are clogged by traffic when they could be safe public spaces where children can play safely outside their front doors and travel independently.”
Play Wales Assistant Director Marianne Mannello said: “Play Wales recognizes the rising concern over children’s health. Time, space and freedom to play outside may have diminished but the contribution these factors can make to children’s self-reliance, emotional and physical resilience, and their sense of inclusion and participation in their own community remains unchanged.”
Sustrans and Play Wales envisage that any parking in the new developments would be limited and situated away from people’s homes.