10 Physical Activity and Green Space
This section considers the effects of the proposed scheme on
access to green space and levels of physical activity. The issues
- changes in access to or quality of walking and cycling
- changes in access to or quality of green space; and
- changes in access to or quality of sports facilities.
Changes in trip lengths for pedestrians and cyclists are
discussed in Section 9 above.
10.1.1 Study Area
Effects on physical activity and green space would largely take
place within the immediate vicinity of the proposed scheme as a
result of land take and amenity impacts. The area can be broken up
- around the Ferrytoll Junction and the northern approach
- around the southern approach viaduct, Queensferry Junction and
the southern road alignment; and
- around the M9 Junction 1A.
10.2 Evidence of Health Effects
10.2.1 Green Space
The Sustainable Development Commission (2008) in its report
‘Health, Place and Nature’ concluded that exposure
to natural spaces, from parks and open countryside to gardens and
other green space, is good for health. Green spaces can improve
physical health, physical comfort and psychiatric wellbeing, as
well as providing opportunities to improve people’s quality
of life and social interactions. Benefits cited in other
studies include alleviation of symptoms of anxiety and depression,
and restored capacity for concentration and attention (Douglas,
10.2.2 Physical Activity
Strong evidence exists of links between exercise and health.
Scotland’s Physical Activity Taskforce has identified that
the health of two-thirds of the Scottish adult population is now at
risk from physical inactivity, making it the most common risk
factor for coronary heart disease in Scotland today (Physical
Activity Task Force, 2003). The Scottish Executive has identified
physical activity levels as one of five key risk areas for
improving health in Scotland (Scottish Executive, 2002).
Physical health effects associated with increased exercise
include a decrease in the incidence of heart attacks, coronary
heart disease, diabetes and strokes, increasing general
cardiovascular fitness and mobility (reducing risk of falls,
particularly for older people), reduced incidence of obesity,
improved musculoskeletal health, prevention of hypertension and
osteoporosis, decreasing risk of cancer (particularly colon, breast
and lung cancers) and obesity (Department of Health, 2004).
Exercise can improve mental health, aiding conditions such as
clinical depression, sleep problems and low self-esteem, and can
contribute towards improved physical perception, and general
psychological well-being as well as acting as a buffer to stress
(Sport England, 2007). Physical activity can also provide an
important opportunity for social interaction, which in itself can
add to mental well-being (Department of Health, 2004).
A review by Health Scotland found evidence that levels of
physical activity and physically active transport can be directly
related to characteristics of the local environment such as street
connectivity, amenities within walking distance, perceived safety
and aesthetics of the neighbourhood. However these factors alone
are unlikely to lead to a substantial change in levels of physical
activity, which is more strongly linked to individual
10.2.3 Health Inequalities
The poorest people often experience the poorest quality outdoor
environments and suffer disproportionately from a lack of access to
green space. Recent Dutch research has suggested that there is a
positive association between the percentage of green space in a
person’s residential area and their perceived general health
and that this relationship is strongest for lower socio-economic
groups (Maas et al., 2006).
NHS Health Scotland’s (2007) commentary on NICE public
health guidance states that there is a ‘dearth of evidence
on how environmental interventions affect the physical activity
levels of different groups, so it is not clear what impact [this]
would have on health inequalities.’
10.3 Existing Conditions
10.3.1 Physical activity
No data is available on levels of physical activity within the
study area. However, general levels of physical activity in the
Scottish population are falling and around two thirds of the
Scottish population do not participate in enough physical activity
to meet current recommendations (Edinburgh South-East Development
The study area contains numerous features and facilities that
offer opportunities for exercise, as described below.
10.3.2 Green Space, Cycleways and Footpaths
(a) Around Ferrytoll Junction and the Northern Approach
There are no parks or public open spaces close to the proposed
works, with the nearest park located in Rosyth about 1km from the
Ferrytoll Junction lies in the coastal hills to the north of the
Firth of Forth. Although the amenity value in parts of this area is
compromised by industrial areas at Rosyth and South Inverkeithing
Bay, the remaining open spaces at Castlandhill and Castlandhill
Wood, with views across the Firth of Forth, are likely to be highly
valued by local people. Hope Street Cemetery, located immediately
east of the A90, is also considered to be an area of community
South west of the junction where the proposed B981 alignment is
located is an area of coastal flats. The site of the proposed
viaduct comprises a wooded hillside rising from the waterfront.
East of the Forth Road Bridge approach road is the Ferry Hills area
comprising rolling hills with high landscape value and views across
There are numerous footpaths providing access to the areas of
open spaces described above. The Fife coastal path, and the path
through Ferry Hills are used for recreational walking. Two
footpaths run across Castlandhill linking Rosyth and Inverkeithing,
and other local routes are used for journeys on foot between North
Queensferry, Inverkeithing and Rosyth.
Two National Cycle Routes (NCR 1 and NCR 76) run through the
area. Both routes cross Ferrytoll Junction, with NCR 1 running
across the Forth Road Bridge. A local cycle route to Rosyth
connects with NCR 1 south of the junction and another local route
between Rosyth and Inverkeithing crosses the M90 just north of the
Around the Southern Approach Viaduct, Queensferry Junction and
the Southern Alignment
This area, to the west and south west of South Queensferry,
comprises rolling farmland with scattered areas of woodland,
crossed by a network of lanes and footpaths. This is an attractive
area, parts of which have designations to protect their high
The waterfront to the west of the landing point is accessible
via the coastal road, which is designated as a core path to be used
by pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists. This area is also
designated as having local landscape importance.
The area for the proposed road alignment south of the viaduct is
known as Echline Fields. This land is well used by the local
community as a walking route between South Queensferry and the
houses at Linn Mill.
Within South Queensferry there are numerous public parks and an
area of community woodland, and to the south of South Queensferry
beyond the wooded area around Dundas Castle is Dundas Golf
Footpaths in this area are mainly concentrated around the west
side of South Queensferry. These comprise a mixture of public
rights of way, core paths and informal paths across Echline Fields.
The paths are used as access routes between South Queensferry and
residential and employment areas to the west, and for recreation
and dog walking. Across the wider area there are numerous
cross-country footpaths used for recreational walking.
NCR1 runs across the Forth Road Bridge and east out of
Queensferry, and NCR 76 follows the waterfront, crossing the point
of the proposed bridge landing.
Around M9 Junction 1a
The area north of Junction 1a consists of rolling countryside
crossed by paths and scattered with wooded areas.
Directly south of the junction is a landscape character area
referred to as an area of historic wooded landscape. A footpath
passes within 200m of the junction in this area but is shielded by
a band of woodland.
To the east, between the junction and the village of Kirkliston,
there is a public park and an area of community woodland which
contains a network of paths around Pikes Pool.
A local path used by pedestrians and cyclists runs along the
B8090 to the north of the junction.
10.3.3 Sport and Leisure Facilities
Around Ferrytoll Junction and the Northern Approach Viaduct
There are no formal sport or leisure facilities within this
Around the Southern Approach Viaduct, Queensferry Junction and
the Southern Alignment
Close to the southern bridge landing is Port Edgar Marina, a
major watersports complex and marina which is home to Port Edgar
Towards the east side of South Queensferry is Queensferry High
Recreation Centre, with a gym, pool, indoor and outdoor sports
Westmuir Riding Centre lies approximately 1.5km south west of
the alignment, and Dundas Golf Course lies to the south of South
Queensferry near Dundas Castle.
Around M9 Junction 1a
Kirkliston Leisure Centre, with sports halls, gym and outdoor
pitches, lies adjacent to the A8000, directly north of Junction
10.4 Operational Impact Assessment
10.4.1 Ferrytoll Junction and the Northern Approach Viaduct
Castlandhill Road would be realigned and a new cutting created,
resulting in the partial loss of fields and woodland from
Castlandhill. This would marginally reduce the area of open space,
but would not directly affect the footpaths, and the cutting would
alleviate visual and noise effects from the road.
The B981 realignment and the proposed viaduct would directly
affect the coastal flats and St Margaret’s Marsh area, which
are accessible to walkers. The proposed scheme would also add new
built elements to views of the existing junction, road alignment
and bridge from Ferry Hills.
As described in Chapter 17 of the ES (Jacobs Arup, 2009a),
several footpaths and cycleways would be directly affected by the
new road alignment and works to Ferrytoll junction and its slip
roads. The design of the proposed scheme has taken into account the
need to maintain access along these routes through the use of
diversions and provision of new crossings where appropriate. The
design has eliminated significant increases in journey distance,
with the exception of certain trips between North Queensferry and
Inverkeithing as described in Section 9.4.1.
Cycleways around Ferrytoll junction would be improved through a
reduction in traffic on the approach to the Forth Road Crossing and
junction design to improve safety, as described in the Stage 3
Scheme Assessment Report. Walkers on the paths around the west side
of North Queensferry would also benefit from reduced traffic.
It is considered that the operation of the proposed scheme would
not restrict access to green space in this area, and would not
significantly encourage or discourage the use of footpaths and
10.4.2 Around the Southern Approach Viaduct, Queensferry
Junction and the Southern Alignment
Distant views of the Main Crossing from the waterfront are not
expected to adversely affect pedestrians and recreational users on
Society Road but views and noise levels would reduce the amenity
value of the waterfront in the immediate area of the approach
Port Edgar Marina is within 300m of the proposed scheme, and
would be located between the Forth Road Bridge and the Main
Crossing. Although highly visible, the presence of the Main
Crossing would not restrict the use of the marina.
The new road alignment would result in land take at Echline
Fields and would sever the informal footpaths that cross this area.
This would result in the loss of well used walking routes to the
west of South Queensferry. However it should be noted that this
area is subject to a planning application that could, in the
absence of the proposed scheme, result in the development of this
The amenity value of the countryside to the west and south of
South Queensferry would be reduced by the noise and visual effects
of the new road alignment. Receptors within this area include a
number of public footpaths. It is considered that the proposed
route alignment would adversely affect the quality and availability
of green space for residents of South Queensferry and the
surrounding countryside, and could dissuade people from using
certain public footpaths. Routes used by the Westmuir Riding Centre
are also likely to be affected, although the centre itself would
not be affected.
The proposed carriageway alignment would be visible from parts
of Dundas Golf Course would be indirectly affected, but it is
considered that the presence of the road at a distance of 500m
would not discourage the use of this facility.
Public parks and community woodland within South Queensferry
would be largely unaffected, and there may be beneficial effects in
terms of reduced traffic noise at Echline Community Woodland.
The reduction in traffic on the Forth Road Bridge and the
southern approach roads would encourage the use of the bridge by
walkers and cyclists. This could result in an increase in the
number of longer distance trips made by cyclists and walkers on NCR
1 and NCR 76.
10.4.3 Around M9 Junction 1a
The proposed west facing slip roads at Junction 1a would not
directly affect the park and community woodland to the east of the
junction, Kirkliston Leisure Centre to the north, or the footpath
to the south.
It is considered that the operation of the proposed scheme would
have no effect on the availability of green space or opportunities
for exercise in this area.
10.4.4 Wider Effects
The proposed scheme would remove traffic from the Forth Road
Bridge and maintain this crossing as a public transport corridor
with a segregated cycleway and pedestrian route. Segregated cycle
lanes would be provided at Ferrytoll Junction. The proposed scheme
would improve amenity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists, both
on the Forth Road Bridge and on the northern and southern approach
routes, as a result of reduced traffic volumes and improved road
layouts. There is therefore the potential to increase active travel
across the Firth of Forth, both for recreation and commuting.
The use of buses can increase walking, when compared with car
use, as users walk to bus stops. An indirect impact of this is the
reduction in road traffic, which in turn improves conditions for
walkers and cyclists. By providing a dedicated public transport
crossing and bus priority routes, the scheme has the potential to
facilitate improvements in bus transport provision. Park and ride
sites, although not part of the scheme, could also be facilitated
by the improved crossing.
10.5 Construction Impacts
The impacts on accessibility and quality of open space,
footpaths and cycleways would be greater during construction of the
proposed scheme than during operation. Although there is limited
specific information on the construction process at this stage, the
following impacts area expected:
10.5.1 Ferrytoll Junction and the Northern Approach
Works associated with the construction of the new cutting at
Castlandhill Roads would reduce the amenity value of the footpaths
and fields in this area.
Temporary diversions would be put in place for footpaths around
Ferrytoll Junction, potentially resulting in reduced quality and
increased journey length. Construction traffic, including HGVs,
around the junction and nearby construction compounds could affect
amenity and safety, particularly for cyclists.
10.5.2 Around the Southern Approach Viaduct, Queensferry
Junction and the Southern Alignment
The amenity effects on the waterfront area during construction
of the southern approach viaduct would be significantly greater
than during operation of the proposed scheme. It is considered that
there is a high potential for construction activities to
temporarily discourage the recreational use of Society Road by
walkers and cyclists.
Port Edgar Marina would be adversely affected, particularly
during easterly winds when the sailing school uses the waters to
the west of the marina where construction of the Main Crossing
would take place. Although events such as regattas would
potentially be disrupted, a programme of effective community
engagement process would be implemented. Operations within the
Firth of Forth would also be managed through the implementation of
a Marine Traffic Management Plan.
Additional temporary land take at Echline fields for a
construction compound, as well as the proposed alignment, would
reduce access to green space for properties on the west side of
South Queensferry. Temporary footpath diversions to the west and
south of South Queensferry would reduce the amenity value of paths
and potentially increase journey length.
The adverse effects of construction would not be counteracted by
improved conditions for cyclists in South Queensferry due to the
continued use of the A90 and Forth Road Bridge by traffic crossing
the Firth of Forth.
It is considered that the construction process would result in a
temporary reduction in access to green space and opportunities for
exercise in this area.
10.5.3 Around M9 Junction 1a
During construction there is a potential for increased noise
within the park and community woodland to the east of the junction
and Kirkliston Leisure Centre to the north, resulting from the
widening of the A8000 embankment and M9 cutting, and construction
of the west facing slip roads.
10.5.4 Wider Effects
Construction would largely be undertaken off-line, with traffic
movements confined within the proposed alignment wherever possible.
On-road haulage routes have not been defined at this stage but it
is considered that there would be an increase in traffic flows and
congestion, including HGVs, as a result of deliveries and temporary
closures and diversions. This has the potential to discourage the
use of roads and footpaths by pedestrians and cyclists.
10.6 Mitigation Measures
10.6.1 Operational Phase
The ES includes a wide range of mitigation measures aimed at
reducing the adverse effects of construction and operation of the
proposed scheme on noise, dust and visual intrusion, and minimising
land take. In addition, as described in Chapter 17 of the ES and
summarised in Section 9 of this report, the scheme design has
maintained core paths and public rights of way, minimised increased
journey times for pedestrians and cyclists, and improved safety
wherever possible. These measures serve to minimise the adverse
effects on cycling, walking and the availability of green space,
and have been taken into account in the assessment of health
10.6.2 Construction Phase
The CoCP sets out a wide range of measures to minimise adverse
effects on public and private areas close to the construction
works, and require the Contractor to develop and implement a
detailed Environmental Management Plan. Relevant measures are
included in the Dust and Air Pollution, Public Access and Traffic
Management, Noise and Vibration, Landscape and Visual and
Agricultural Resources sections.
10.7 Assessment of Health Impacts
The effects on health have been assessed according to the
criteria set out in the Merseyside Guidelines (see Section
The effects of physical activity on health are well established,
but in order for these effects to take place, action is required on
the part of individuals, which cannot be accurately predicted.
Therefore, based on the available evidence (see Section 10.2), the
degree of certainty of links between green space, physical activity
and health effects is considered to be speculative. The assessment
of health effects is undertaken in a qualitative way.
There would be both positive and negative effects on pedestrian
and cycle routes resulting from the proposed scheme which may
indirectly influence the choices made by the community with regard
to active travel. Likewise, the proposed scheme may influence
access to green space through the uptake of land, noise and visual
effects on nearby green space, and by influencing the accessibility
of green space by car in the long term.
The proposed scheme would provide a dedicated public transport
crossing on the Forth Road Bridge, resulting in improved perceived
safety and amenity for cyclists and pedestrians. The amenity value
of public footpaths, community woodland and open space within South
Queensferry are also expected to improve as a result of a reduction
in traffic flows along the A90 alignment through the town. The
health effects of potentially increasing active travel along the
NCR1 and local routes and also the use of recreation areas within
South Queensferry are considered to be positive and of moderate
For pedestrians and cyclists, the slight increase in journey
times and reduced amenity for routes west of South Queensferry may
discourage active travel in this area. The southern approach to the
Main Crossing also results in the permanent loss of an informal
amenity area at Echline Field. Although there is some land-take at
Kirkliston Leisure Centre, the playing fields and amenity of this
area would remain unchanged on operation of the proposed scheme.
Overall, the associated health effects of the changes in journey
times and amenity are considered to be negative and of minor
The construction and operation of the proposed scheme would
result in noise and visual impacts which would affect rural walking
and cycling routes in areas to the west and southwest of South
Queensferry. This could potentially discourage the recreational use
of these routes, with minor negative effects on health and
During construction, noise and dust may temporarily discourage
the recreational use of open space and footpaths in areas such as
Castlandhill, the waterfront at Port Edgar and Kirkliston Leisure
Centre. There would be reduced access to informal amenity areas at
Echline Fields as a result of the construction compound. Temporary
diversions of footpaths and cycleways would also increase the
length of some journeys during construction. Overall, the
associated health effects during construction are considered to be
negative and minor.