Letters

Published: 15/01/2004, Volume II4, No. 5888 Page 23

The planned Thames Gateway development is effectively a new city built from scratch (news, page 6, 27 November). Surely this should demonstrate the integration of health policy objectives into all areas of government and planning.

Take the promotion of physical activity: the Gateway should have a central objective that all inhabitants be prompted and assisted to achieve the World Health Organisation physical activity guideline levels.

This would require, among other things:

a land-use policy of mixed-use development;

a dense network of traffic-free walking and cycling routes;

no through motor traffic (along the lines of cities such as Houten in the Netherlands);

building design to promote physical activity (show the stairs and hide the lift, rather than vice versa);

Home Office requirement that the police fully enforce traffic law (and its support in so doing);

performance-manage local authorities and primary care bodies to promote physical activity.

A similar cross-departmental approach could equally be applied in other policy areas.

I would like to see a predictive health impact assessment for the Thames Gateway, forecasting a significant and wide-ranging health benefit for its inhabitants through greater opportunities for physical activity.

Philip Insall Director Active Travel