Our Strategy

Our vision: Scotland is a walking nation. Everyone has the opportunity to be active every day, creating a happier, healthier and greener Scotland.

Step it up

We want to get Scotland walking:

Everyone.
Everywhere.
Every day.

We want everyone in Scotland, no matter who they are or where they live, to benefit from walking.

We want our places and spaces to be safe and attractive for everyone to walk in, everywhere.

We want everyone in Scotland to feel motivated to walk every day.

The global pandemic has caused immense upheaval and uncertainty in our communities. Now is the time to step things up and rebuild and recover in a better way. By doing more to promote walking (whether on foot or with a wheelchair or mobility aid) as the natural choice, we’ll improve people’s lives and re-build as a happier, healthier, and greener nation.

Our strategy sets out our vision for tackling physical inactivity, poor mental health, increased health and transport inequalities and the climate emergency.


Walking is an easy, effective and accessible way to improve health.

Going for a walk each day can boost physical, mental and emotional health. Being active helps prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and depression. And if people walk in nature, especially with others, these positive health effects are even greater. We’ll work to create and promote more opportunities to walk daily for leisure and getting to school, shops and services.

Walking is a way to tackle inactivity and health inequalities on a population-wide scale.

COVID-19 has exacerbated social and transport inequalities. A lack of facilities and poorly maintained pavements, paths and routes have made it harder for some to walk, wheel or cycle and access local greenspaces. This means they’re less likely to be active, and more likely to feel lonely and isolated. To tackle inequalities in access to everyday walking, sustainable travel and outdoor physical activity, we’ll focus on changing behaviours, removing barriers and supporting those who are most inactive.

Walking is also part of the response to the climate challenge.

It’s the cleanest form of transport. The pandemic changed work, travel and recreation patterns and we have a chance to make these positive changes stick. We’ll be supporting communities and local authorities to enable behaviour change within the population, create good environments for walking and wheeling with effective and affordable public transport connections and champion planning and policy which makes walking a natural choice for short daily journeys.


To achieve real change, our ambitious strategy is structured around the four key objectives in the WHO Global Action Plan for Physical Activity. Our strategy also contributes to and is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Scotland and Scotland’s National Performance Framework.


1. Creating a walking society

Changing social norms and increasing positive attitudes towards walking.
 

2. Creating walking environments

Making places and spaces safe and attractive for walking and wheeling.
 

3. Creating active people

Encourage behaviour change and participation in daily activity through the right programmes, infrastructure and community opportunities.
 

4. Creating walking systems

Strengthening leadership, partnerships and policy to make Scotland a walking nation.


Read more about what we're doing to achieve our vision by reading our strategy in full.

Step it up: our strategic statement June 2021.