This guideline covers how to improve the physical environment to encourage and support physical activity. The aim is to increase the general population’s physical activity levels. The recommendations in this guideline should be read alongside NICE's guideline on physical activity: walking and cycling.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Local authorities and metro mayors, including agencies contracted to deliver environmental changes for local authorities
  • Others responsible for open spaces used by the public such as in workplaces, community-owned gardens and playing fields
  • Housing, local enterprise partnerships and others responsible for the built environment
  • Public transport planners and providers
  • Organisations working to ensure people with limited mobility can be physically active

It may also be relevant for members of the public.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

NICE worked with Public Health England to develop this guidance.

This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline PH8 (January 2008).

Next review: March 2023

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • Public Health England