A recent report by the Chief Medical Officer for England concluded that life expectancy in coastal communities is suffering, and in dire need of further investigation and remedy. The details of this report with particular context of the Scarborough borough was discussed in Sept 2022 at a committee of NYCC. The figures shown below, male on the left, and female on the right, show the Whitby areas in the lower reaches of life expectancy.
The cause of the deprivation and resultant lower life expectancies remain to be resolved. Scientific evidence shows that access to green space as well as active travel are significant contributory factors to health so, in the case of Whitby, not having the local standard of green space, coupled with having virtually non-existent cycle infrastructure are not going to help.
In the 2022 report by the Director of Public Health for NYCC which particularly looked at the effects of COVID and how it changed people’s habits, we see statements such as “There have been positive impacts from having accessible, local green spaces, which have supported both physical and mental health and wellbeing“, “Support equitable access to green space” and “However, access to gardens and good quality green spaces are not equitable across all parts of society“. With reference to the UK government statement “Building back ‘greener’ is a key ambition nationally and for local partners, … such as improving green spaces and active travel options we can help limit the harmful impacts into the future“. It is all well and good the aspirational statements, but where is the action to back it up and provide good quality green space (and active travel infra) and reduce this inequality?