Social wellbeing

Waterways have a role to play in improving wellbeing, inclusion and prospects of communities and individuals.

Planning policies and decisions can help to increase the role our waterways have in promoting health and wellbeing for communities.

Independent research shows that spending time by the waterways can make people happier and improve life satisfaction, with an equivalent estimated social wellbeing value of £3.8bn per year nationally. 

Your plan should consider:

  • Encouraging the use of waterways in place-making
  • Recognising that living afloat contributes towards increasing choice in housing types and lifestyle, and contributes to the life, vitality and natural surveillance of the waterway
  • Supporting the protection, conservation and enhancement of waterways’ heritage and their built environment
  • Encouraging the use of waterways and towpaths for leisure, recreation and sporting activities as part of the ‘natural health service’, acting as ‘blue gyms’ and supporting physical and healthy outdoor activity
  • Supporting the use of waterways as an educational resource and recognising waterways as active and inventive providers of open-air learning activities

Last date edited: 19 November 2020