We’ve just released our new Impact Report for 2022-23! Take a look here.

System Leadership: Environments

Our Strategy

Where we live has a massive impact on how we live. This, in turn, has a huge effect on our health and wellbeing.

The design of our streets, our neighbourhoods, and the opportunity to access good quality play areas, parks and open spaces all contribute to how active we are in our daily lives.

We work with partners across Norfolk to ensure that investments and infrastructure decisions are focused on the people they aim to help. We will promote growth and development which is accessible and enables people to have a greater choice in how they are active. This connects communities to purpose-built and natural environments in which they can be active.

Get Active Outdoors

Impact Summary

Every space and place that we move through in our daily lives can have a bearing on if and how we move more. Our focus in the last 12 months has been creating better places to live. We do this by influencing those who develop and manage local environments. 

We work with partners to develop preferred standards and guidance for physical activity in local contexts. Our work also advocates for better representation in schemes and projects to address inequalities, and to convene with partners to explore shared aims and priorities for more effective collaboration.

The right information has to be available to those creating the local planning policies, so we’ve been providing physical activity content, advice and guidance for local plans, neighbourhood plans, masterplans, and design guides. In addition to cascading information, we’ve been building public authority relationships to support our vision. Some key partnerships developed over the last year include: 

  • Work with the Integrated Care System Estates Teams, and Public Health teams around planning to better coordinate and understand emerging plans
  • Group engagement to develop and test the Natural England’s Health, Wellbeing, Nature and Sustainability Tool. 
  • Public Health collaboration to update the Planning in Health protocol, an agreement that sets out how planners engage with health system

Healthy Streets is a human-centred framework for embedding public health in transport, public realm and planning. It builds improvements on existing conditions rather than seeking a fixed end goal. Internal training on this framework took place this year so we are well placed to inform and support our partners. 

There are examples across the UK where planning authorities are working to embed heath into plans. Securing Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) support to deliver workshops with Local Planning Authority Session was a step towards that goal. 

A notable example being the Local Walking and Cycling Planning. Guest speakers from Hertfordshire County Council Learn and Share Community of Practice were invited to talk and collaborate on Norfolk’s local walking and cycling plans. This was an opportunity to showcase good practice and hear about learn from Hertfordshire’s regeneration, active travel and design schemes. We hope to continue this knowledge sharing approach.

Active Norfolk were proud to join the expert panel at Norwich’s Disabled Citizen inquiry. This research looked at how disabled people experience walking and wheeling. It provided recommendations made by disabled people to help decision-makers, and local and national government transport and planning teams make places and streets better for people. The report on solutions and recommendation to improve opportunities for walking, wheeling and cycling can be viewed here. View the report here: Disabled Citizens’ Inquiry (sustrans.org.uk)

We are part of Greater Norwich (GN) Green Infrastructure (GI) strategy delivery group which helps to align with the GN Physical Activity Strategy. This strategy has active places as a key theme and sets out the approach and actions for Norfolk County Council over the coming year. 

Moving forward we have defined several objectives for the upcoming 12 months including:

  • Initiation of projects to benefit: 
    • Green social prescribing and exercise referral
    • Parks improvements
    • Support funding bids
    • Providing insight and developing monitoring to know what works
    • Better representation across communities
    • Public Health Pilot projects to test within locality
  • Support with green infrastructure and active travel projects in Kings Lynn West Norfolk Borough Council
  • Define and scope workstreams around the design and planning of health school environments
  • Support Town and Parish Councils to develop neighbourhood plans and activate improvement projects