Written answers

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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195. To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 463 to 465, inclusive, of 27 November 2018, the work being undertaken by the OPIOG in the area of health and environmental planning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51001/18]

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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196. To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 463 to 465, inclusive, of 27 November 2018, if the feedback from the Healthy Ireland stakeholder forum on the built environment will form part of the discussions necessary to develop guidelines and support materials for those working in developing the built environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51002/18]

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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197. To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 463 to 465, inclusive, of 27 November 2018, the timeline for the consideration of the collated outcomes in detail by the relevant Departments, the national physical activity plan implementation group and the OPIOG for the purposes of advancing work in the area of health and environmental planning; if there is a proposed timeline for the development of these materials; if not, the reason therefor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51003/18]

Photo of Catherine ByrneCatherine Byrne (Dublin South Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 to 197, inclusive, together.

A number of Government policies aim to support the design and development of built environments that enhance health, wellbeing and quality of life for all. The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) and the national Obesity Policy and Action Plan (OPAP) both require that joint action is taken to promote the importance of physical activity and to reduce the obesogenic nature of the built environment.

In line with Actions 31 of the NPAP and 2.1 of the OPAP, which commit to developing guidelines and support materials for those working in developing the built environment in order to promote the importance of physical activity, and Action 59 of the NPAP which commits to developing a programme of on-going stakeholder communication and engagement, a Stakeholder Forum was held on 21 November last.

The event was planned in partnership, with substantial input from three Government Departments, (Health; Transport, Tourism and Sport; and Housing, Planning and Local Government) and was hosted in the National Indoor Arena, Sport Ireland National Sports Campus, Abbottstown. I am pleased to note that the event was well attended with 125 delegates.

This Forum, entitled Connect, Collaborate, Create; Co-Designing Healthier Communities, A Healthy Ireland Stakeholder Forum on the Built Environment, brought together those who have a responsibility for planning and developing public spaces with those who have expertise regarding the impacts of the built environment on health and wellbeing, sport and physical activity.

I was delighted to address this Forum together with my colleague Simon Harris T.D., Minister for Health, and the CEO of Sport Ireland, John Treacy. Sessions were chaired by officials from the Departments of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Health. Expert presentations were given regarding optimal design of healthier communities, the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) and the new Town and Village Toolkit, which is about to be launched by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

Presentations were also given by Waterford City & County Council on the lessons learned from the success of the Waterford Greenway and on the development of the No Fry Zone initiative in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, which aims to place limits on the proximity of fast food outlets to schools.

The talks were followed by a workshop and discussion. Written feedback was gathered from all participant groups and is in the process of collation, which is anticipated to be finalised in the coming weeks. I anticipate that these collated outcomes will be considered in detail by the relevant Departments and at the next meetings of both the National Physical Activity Plan Implementation Group and the Obesity Policy Implementation Oversight Group - comprised of (among others) a representative from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government - for the purposes of advancing and fully informing our work in the area of health and environmental planning.

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