Children – policy timeline

  • The Sports Council revised its strategy favouring regional sports centres in 1978 and a review group set up by Colin Moynihan, the then Minister for Sport, January 1990, concluded that the focus of sports provision “should be smaller, local sports centres”.
  • Tim Yeo, Minister in the Department of the Environment, said in October 1993: “What greater freedom or independence can a child have than to be able to walk unaccompanied to school, the shops or friends? Why should they always be dependent on their parents, let alone the car?”
  • A Department of Transport Green Paper, Transport: the Way Forward, 1996, stated “the freedom to use streets or the countryside in ways in which are not unduly constrained by road traffic and its pollution. One example of this which has been much quoted is the affect over time of traffic in limiting the freedom of children to play in the street, as earlier generations did”.
  • Safe Routes to School projects promoted by government and set in train by local authorities and Sustrans from 1995.
  • A leader in The Times of 21 November 1995 stated: “This does not however suggest that streets have become safer. Rather, children have been withdrawn by their parents from the threat of traffic. It has hugely circumscribed children’s freedom and independence”.
  • Department of Transport document Drive Slower and Save Lives, in September 1996, laid down “the important principle that traffic in residential areas should adapt to children and not the reverse”. This approach has since been replicated in many European countries and in Australia.
  • In 1997, the Children’s Play Council introduced the concept of Home Zones in which children would have priority over wheeled traffic. Legislation to enable local authorities to introduce these was subsequently successful and many Home Zones created in the UK.
  • In 1998, the London Borough of Ealing was given European LIFE programme funding to enable it to proceed with the project focused on children’s access to leisure facilities.
  • St. Edmundsbury Borough Council also adopted the recommended strategy on leisure provision in 1997 in order to improve the health and quality of life of people over the age of 50 in a project starting in 1999.