Active Scotland Delivery Plan

Plan setting out actions that we and our partners are undertaking, working together to encourage and support people in Scotland to be more active, more often.

Outcome 4: We improve our active infrastructure – people and places

The physical environment is an important factor in encouraging and enabling us to live active lifestyles. The availability and accessibility of sport and exercise facilities, our transport infrastructure, and our built and natural environments all have a significant bearing on how readily we can take part in physical activity and sport, and the regular choices we make about how we move through our surroundings. We therefore seek to ensure that our environments support outdoor play, walking, cycling and other forms of active travel, and provide inspiring and safe opportunities for people to participate in physical activity and sport.

People are a vital part of the infrastructure which supports others to become more active. For example, professionals throughout Scotland's health and social care system, coaches and volunteers who enable and encourage Scotland's people to get involved in physical activity and sport at all levels; staff in care homes, leisure facilities, and many other settings who support people to be more physically active – all of these roles are central to achieving the ambition of making people in Scotland more active, more often. Ensuring they have the skills, support and resources to enable them to carry out their essential work effectively is an important aspect of the actions under this outcome.

Key Achievements

  • In 2017/18, Sustrans Scotland allocated £15.5 million of Scottish Government funding for walking and cycling infrastructure and place-making projects. These range from short path links to schools and shops to exemplar segregated paths and innovative urban design initiatives which connect people with places of work and play, enabling easy access and creating better public spaces to regenerate communities.
  • National networks established of Scotland's long distance routes, such as the Caledonia Way, National Route 78 of the National Cycle Network, which runs from Campbeltown to Inverness – following Kintyre and the Great Glen for over 237 miles, together with core paths close to communities, providing opportunities for walking, cycling and horse-riding across Scotland.
  • Established world leading statutory public rights of access to land for recreational and other purposes as part of the Land Reform Act (2003).
  • 275km of routes promoted for mountain biking and £2.5m invested in new trails through the work of the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland consortium to support communities, tourism organisations, local authorities and businesses in developing mountain biking opportunities across Scotland.
  • Working closely with Sports Governing Bodies ( SGBs), sportscotland has supported coach education and development opportunities, with more than 3,300 people receiving offers of financial support to complete UK Coaching Certificate ( UKCC) qualifications across 26 sports. This is the largest investment in coach education grants made in any year, with almost 12,000 coaches accessing a range of learning and development opportunities.
  • Since 2007, sportscotland has invested £168 million to help local authorities, sports governing bodies and other organisations to deliver new and upgraded sporting facilities.
  • 79% of primary and 98% of secondary school sports facilities are available to the local community.
  • CashBack has invested over £11.3 million in state of the art football and rugby 3G all-weather pitches, floodlighting and changing facilities in communities across the country.

Our Actions

1. We will build an Active Nation, boosting investment in walking and cycling and putting active travel at the heart of our transport planning by:

  • Appointing an Active Nation Commissioner to ensure delivery of world-class active travel infrastructure across Scotland (Transport Scotland);
  • Making our towns and cities friendlier and safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, by increasing investment that supports active travel from £40 million to £80 million per year from 2018-19 (Transport Scotland);
  • Building upon existing planning policies that support active travel and promote sustainable patterns of transport as part of a transition to a low carbon economy through the review of Scottish Planning Policy (Scottish Government Planning);
  • Delivering projects which help older people benefit from our network of walking and cycling routes (Transport Scotland);
  • Continuing our investment for walkers, cyclists and equestrians on the A9 corridor, including 35 km of new cycle track to connect the A9 route with the wider National Cycle Network (Transport Scotland);
  • Increasing funding for the Community Links Programme [10] to £45 million for 2018/19, to fund innovative infrastructure projects together with a range of urban and community regeneration projects (Transport Scotland).

2. We will ensure that Scotland's natural environment provides opportunities for increased levels of physical activity for everyone by:

  • Using the European Regional Development Fund Green Infrastructure Fund to improve Scotland's urban environment by increasing and enhancing greenspace in our towns and cities, especially close to areas of multiple deprivation (Scottish Natural Heritage);
  • Working with Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and others to help create, attractive, safe, and well-maintained greenspace and woodlands within easy walking distance of every home in Central Scotland through the Central Scotland Green Network (Scottish Natural Heritage);
  • Growing Scotland's network of paths, trails and canal towpaths from 6,000 to 8,000 kilometres by 2035 through the National Walking and Cycling Network (Scottish Natural Heritage).

3. We will ensure that health and social care professionals have the resources and opportunities to get people more active by:

  • Encouraging and assisting the work of NHS Education for Scotland to integrate learning around physical activity into undergraduate and continuing professional development curricula for health professionals ( NHS Health Scotland);
  • Providing a package of Practitioner Resources to support local Health Boards in delivery of the National Physical Activity Pathway ( NHS Health Scotland);
  • Using 'Green Health Partnerships' to make the links between the health sector and the environment sector so as to increase awareness amongst health professionals of the opportunities to promote physical activity in the outdoors (Scottish Natural Heritage);
  • Building on the work of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Tayside, we will roll out Daily Mile initiatives across other NHS Boards and Integrated Authorities (Active Scotland);
  • Raising awareness amongst health and social care professionals of recommended levels of physical activity for particular groups by ensuring that the Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines are communicated widely through all appropriate channels (Active Scotland).

4. We will ensure that the people who enable and encourage Scotland's people to get involved in physical activity and sport at all levels have the necessary skills, support and resources by:

  • Continuing to invest in partners to support a network of posts, such as Active Schools Co-ordinators, Regional Governing Body roles, etc, to develop sport and support coaches and volunteers across Scotland (sportscotland);
  • Supporting and celebrating the contribution of volunteers to sport in Scotland (Scottish Sports Association and sportscotland);
  • Encouraging and supporting partners, clubs and communities to grow and develop coaches and deliverers working in schools and clubs (sportscotland);
  • Providing a range of leadership opportunities for young people, including the Young People's Sports Panel and Young Ambassadors (sportscotland);
  • Enhancing leadership and diversity of leadership/boards via the On Board for Sport programme (Scottish Sports Association);
  • Developing and implementing a clear, strategic approach to leadership development for professional staff working in Scotland's sporting system, proactively encouraging diversity in the workforce for sport (sportscotland);
  • Shaping and sharing best practice amongst Sports Governing Bodies, building on their positive and innovative work (sportscotland).

5. We will ensure that our sports facilities support and encourage people to participate by:

  • Investing in the development of new facilities and upgrading or extending existing facilities (sportscotland);
  • Delivering regional sports centres around the country with a mixture of facilities for both community and performance use (sportscotland);
  • Investing in facilities to support major sporting events (sportscotland);
  • Requiring applicants to the Sports Facilities Fund to demonstrate that they have involved their community in the decision making stages of their proposals (sportscotland);
  • Prioritising investment from the Sport Facilities Fund into projects that provide opportunities for people to get involved in sport and physical activity, who share protected characteristics that are under-represented in sport, or are located in or serve the most deprived areas of Scotland (sportscotland);
  • Developing facilities design guidance that supports clubs, community groups and others to design and deliver inclusive sports facilities (sportscotland);
  • Protecting and improving the quality and capacity of playing fields and pitches as part of the statutory planning process (sportscotland);
  • Building partnerships to increase the extent to which leisure and school sports infrastructure is affordable, available and open (Active Scotland).


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