- Active Travel England, the government’s new executive agency for cycling and walking, launches with Chris Boardman as interim commissioner
- £5.5m new investment in cycling and walking programmes, including a £300,000 boost to e-cargo bike schemes – £3m to improve cycling infrastructure around stations and explore active travel on prescription
Cyclist Chris Boardman becomes national officer for the government’s new cycling and walking authority, Active Travel England (ASS), which starts today (January 24, 2022).
ASS will be responsible for improving cycling and walking infrastructure standards and managing the national active travel budget and allocating funds to projects that comply with the new national standards set in 2020. It will inspect completed projects and request repayment of funds that have not been completed as promised, or not started or completed by the stipulated times.
ASS will also begin to scrutinize and publish reports on highway authorities’ performance in active travel and identify particularly dangerous deficiencies in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition to approving and inspecting systems, ASS will help local authorities train staff to disseminate best practices in design, implementation and public engagement. It will be a legal adviser on major planning applications to ensure major new developments are appropriately suited for pedestrians and cyclists.
Boardman will be closely involved in the overall stand-up of ASS, including recruiting the CEO and management team. He was appointed on an interim basis while the Department of Transport (DfT) conducts a full and open selection process for the role of permanent commissioner.
Chris is the country’s leading figurehead for active travel and has developed the first phase of Manchester’s public transport system, known as the Bee Network.
He will now lead ASS Team in its work to raise the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure, consistent with the principles set out in Gear Change: a bold new vision for walking and cycling.
The new body will be headquartered in York from summer 2022 and preparatory work is already underway to review councilors’ plans for active travel and support them in developing ambitious programs that will enable more people to walk safely, to drive and to ride a bike.
The Government is also today announcing £5.5 million in new funding for local authorities, rail operators and businesses to support a range of active travel schemes including:
ASS‘s creation follows the Government’s unprecedented pledge of £2billion for cycling and walking above this Parliament.
Acting Minister for Travel Trudy Harrison said:
Cycling and walking are not only good for our health and the environment, they can also be a lot of fun and a great way to connect communities.
This funding is about giving people across the country the opportunity to try different forms of travel and helping local businesses make the transition to greener modes of transport. I very much look forward to working with our new active travel officer to raise standards for everyone.
Chris Boardman, Active Travel Officer for England said:
The positive effects of cycling and walking at high levels are clearly visible in areas across the country where people have been offered easy and safe alternatives to driving. Perhaps most importantly, it creates better places to live while helping both National Health Service”>NHS and our mission to decarbonize.
It’s time to build on these best practices and allow the entire nation to easily and safely get around their neighborhoods without feeling compelled to rely on cars. I am honored to have been asked to lead this and help realize the ambitious vision set out in the Government’s Gear Change Strategy and other local transport policies.
This will be a legacy we will proudly leave to our children and future generations. It’s time to make it happen – it’s time for a quiet revolution.
This is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to making roads safer, so people enjoy cycling and walking, and improving air quality as we build greener in the wake of the pandemic.
More than 30 local authorities have received a share of a £2.2million pot DfT Funding of feasibility studies to create prescription cycling and walking programs.
The government wants active travel to be embedded in our established social membership system as a best practice for improving physical and mental health.
The feasibility studies will develop innovative projects that combine local active travel, physical activity and health networks to support people to choose shorter distances to walk or cycle. The pilot projects will focus on areas where health inequalities are evident or where physical activity levels are low.
Health Secretary Maria Caulfield said:
This important investment in cycling and hiking programs offers new opportunities to improve the nation’s health and well-being and builds on the rollout of social prescriptions across the country National Health Service”>NHS.
We must do everything we can to close the gap in health across the country so that everyone, no matter where they come from, can lead healthier and happier lives.
DfTThe National E-Cargo Bike Fund, which subsidizes the cost of e-cargo delivery bikes for small businesses, will also receive a £300,000 top-up to build on the scheme’s success to date, with applications using the funds available exceed.
This will allow businesses across the country to purchase up to 250 more e-cargo bikes to deliver goods in their local area.
This all comes as it has been confirmed that 14 local authorities have successfully secured part of a £1.2million fund to support the purchase of e-cargo bikes by local businesses and enable the transition from motor vehicles, as we work to decarbonize the entire transport network. The bikes can be used for deliveries and transport by local businesses or municipalities themselves.
Finally, train operators will receive part of a £2m investment in 24 projects to provide safer cycle parking facilities at 23 stations across the country, with a further £1m spent on creating dedicated cycle lanes to 5 stations.
This comes as the government delivers on commitments set out in the Gear Shift and Williams-Shapps plan for rail and will improve both the quality and safety of cycle facilities at stations.