The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is urging councils to make it as easy as possible for people with limited mobility to be more active.
In new guidance, NICE says that pedestrian crossings should be made accessible for all – including allowing enough time for signals to change, using dropped down pavements for wheelchair users and textured ground for those with visual impairments.
NICE also recommends that local councils do more to keep pavements clear of obstructions such as parked cars, hanging baskets and bins.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at NICE, says safe, accessible streets can help people to ‘get active and live longer, healthier lives’.
Published on Monday (21 August), the new guidance says local councils should engage with their community to take account of the needs and views of local residents – including those with limited mobility who may be affected by the design or maintenance of streets and parks.
Professor Baker said: “It should not matter whether you are on foot, in a wheelchair, have a visual impairment or if you’re a parent pushing a pram.
“If streets, parks and other open spaces are well planned, everyone should be able to get around their local area easily. Safe, accessible streets and well maintained parks can help people to get active and live longer, healthier lives.”
Andy Jones, a member of the NICE guideline committee, added: “Everyone should be able to have the choice to be active if they want to be.
“Making sure local streets and green spaces are attractive for everyone, including those with limited mobility, is incredibly important.”