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Sports: Transport

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 12 September 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the proportion of people who live within 20 minutes of a good multi-sport facility; which mode of transport was used in calculating this figure; what the average distance covered in this time was for the purposes of the calculation; how this target has been assessed; what plans he has to monitor the targets; and what definition his Department uses of a good multi-sport facility. (154898)

[holding answer 10 September 2007]: For the purposes of this commitment the Government have defined ‘multi-sport’ as access to at least two different sports facilities that are most in demand. In relation to ‘good quality’ there is no single nationally recognised measure that can be applied to all sports facilities. However, the Active Places sports facilities database (the main tool for measuring the commitment) holds information about the age of facilities and length of time since last refurbishment. We are using these figures as the measure of quality.

Using the Active Places database Sport England are undertaking strategic mapping of the nation’s sports facilities and we know that over 90 per cent. of people in England are within 20 minutes’ travel time of at least two different sports facilities that are most in demand by the public (swimming pools, playing fields, synthetic turf pitches, health and fitness centres, sports halls and golf courses). We know that, of the built sports facilities listed on Active Places (pools, halls, health and fitness centres and synthetic turf pitches), 65 per cent. have been built or refurbished in the last 10 years. We expect to see these positive figures maintained in future years.

The Government take the view that those in urban areas should be within 20 minutes’ walking distance of a multi-sport environment, while those in rural areas should be within 20 minutes’ driving distance by car. Urban and rural areas are defined using the “Rural and Urban Area Classification 2004: Introductory Guide”, which was jointly published by The Countryside Agency, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Office for National Statistics, and the Welsh Assembly Government. The rural road travel times are based on the average road speeds derived from the Integrated Transport Network produced by Ordnance Survey. The urban walking catchments are based on a straight line 1.34 km distance.