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Alice Ferguson

Children and the built environment: Inquiry and next steps

posted this in Activism, Children's play, health and wellbeing on 12/06/2024

In Spring 2023, Playing Out joined with allies to ask for a Parliamentary Inquiry into Children, Young People and the Built Environment. We pointed out that children’s health and wellbeing is at crisis point in the UK, hugely exacerbated by poverty and inequality.

To address the root causes of this, we believe it is crucial to create an outdoor (and policy) environment that considers and meets children’s need for everyday outdoor play, physical activity, social interaction and independent mobility, so it was a hugely significant step forward for children when the Inquiry was announced in November.

Over the past six months, we and many others put a huge amount of time, energy and expertise into ensuring the right evidence was heard by the committee, in written submissions and over three oral evidence sessions, which we also spoke at.

The committee’s report was due to be published this month but, because of the General Election announcement, the rules of parliament mean that the committee itself was immediately dissolved and there is no guarantee the new committee will pick up the inquiry or publish the report. Much as we hope that the election will lead to a new Government that better considers and prioritises children, this is of course hugely disappointing.

But this is by no means the end! Crucially, all the evidence given by 130 organisations and experts is published and in the public domain, to be drawn on, consulted and used to forward the aim of improving children and young people’s everyday access to outdoor space and independent mobility.

On top of this, the process and leadership of parliament examining this issue through the select committee was excellent, thorough and had got a long way – right to report stage.

And finally, we ourselves are not giving up! We plan to contact all those who gave evidence to the inquiry, inviting them – along with other allies – to collectively call on the new committee to re-open the inquiry, finish the process and publish the report – and for the new Government to act on its recommendations.

As we said in our last blog post on the inquiry, if the report reflects all the powerful evidence given, it could be a real gift to whoever is in power over the next decade – a plan for housing and the wider built environment that meets the needs of children, families and communities and a roadmap to restoring children’s freedom, health and happiness.

Read Playing Out’s main evidence to the inquiry

Read our joint statement signed by 26 experts and organisations

Read our supplementary evidence on the role of housing providers

Read our supplementary evidence on children and equalities law

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