Olympic gold medalist and cyclist Chris Boardman will lead the government’s new active travel body
- Active Travel England, the government’s new executive agency for cycling and walking is launched with Chris Boardman as Acting Commissioner
- £5.5m new investment in cycling and walking schemes, including an additional £300,000 for e-cargo bike schemes – £3m to improve cycling infrastructure around stations and explore commuting prescription actives
Cyclist Chris Boardman will become national commissioner of the new government cycling and walking body, Active Travel England (ATE), out today (January 24, 2022).
ATE be responsible for improving cycling and walking infrastructure standards and managing the national active travel budget, providing funding to projects that meet new national standards set in 2020. It will inspect completed projects and request reimbursement of funds for anything that has not been completed as promised or has not started or finished within the stipulated time.
ATE will also begin to inspect and publish reports on road authorities for their active travel performance and identify particularly dangerous failures of their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition to approving and inspecting plans, ATE help local authorities train staff to disseminate good practice in design, implementation and public engagement. This will be a statutory consultant on major development applications to ensure that the most important new developments properly accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
Boardman will be closely involved in the complete stand-up of ATE, including recruitment of the CEO and management team. He was appointed on an interim basis, while the Ministry of Transport (DfT) is holding a full and open competition for the post of Permanent Commissioner.
Chris is the country’s leading figurehead for active travel and delivered the first phase of Manchester’s public transport system known as the Bee Network.
He will now lead the ATE team in its work to raise the standards of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, in line 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 preliminary work is already underway, reviewing councils’ plans for active travel and helping them create ambitious programs that will get more people walking , ride and cycle safely.
The government is also today announcing £5.5 million in new funding for local authorities, rail operators and businesses to encourage a variety of active travel schemes, including:
ATEThe creation follows the Government’s unprecedented £2billion commitment to cycling and walking during this Parliament.
Active Travel Minister Trudy Harrison said:
Cycling and walking are not only good for our health and the environment, but can also be a lot of fun and a great way to connect communities.
This funding is intended to give people across the country the opportunity to try different forms of transportation, as well as support local businesses in the transition to greener transportation. I very much look forward to working with our new active Travel Commissioner to improve standards for everyone.
Acting Travel Commissioner for England, Chris Boardman, said:
The positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are clearly visible in pockets across the country where people have been provided with simple and safe alternatives to driving. Perhaps most important of all, however, it creates better places to live while helping both NHS and our decarbonization mission.
Now is the time to build on these pockets of best practices and enable the entire nation to move easily and safely through their neighborhoods without feeling pressured to depend on the car. I am honored to have been asked to lead this file and help achieve the ambitious vision set out in the government’s shift strategy and other local transport policies.
It will be a legacy that we will be proud to leave to our children and to future generations. It’s time to make it a reality – it’s time for a quiet revolution.
It’s part of the government’s ongoing commitment to creating safer streets for people to cycle and walk, and to improving air quality as we build back greener after the pandemic.
More than 30 local authorities have received part of a £2.2million pot DfT funding for feasibility studies on the creation of “cycling and walking by prescription” programs.
The government wants active travel to be incorporated into our established social subscription system, as a proven method of improving physical and mental health.
Feasibility studies will develop innovative projects linking local active travel, physical activity and health networks to help people choose to take shorter journeys on foot or by bike. Pilot projects will focus on areas where health inequities are evident or physical activity levels are low.
Health Minister Maria Caulfield said:
This vital investment in cycling and walking programs offers new ways to improve the health and well-being of the nation and builds on the deployment of social prescribing across the NHS.
We must do all we can to even out health disparities across the country, which means everyone, no matter where they come from, can lead healthier, happier lives.
DfTThe National e-Cargo Bike Fund, which subsidizes the cost of e-cargo delivery bikes for small businesses, will also receive an additional £300,000 to build on the success of the scheme so far, with applications exceeding the funding available.
This will allow businesses across the country to purchase up to 250 additional e-bikes to deliver goods to their area.
This all comes as it has been confirmed that 14 local authorities have successfully secured part of a £1.2m fund to support the purchase of e-cargo bikes by local businesses, enabling the transition motor vehicles as we work to decarbonize the entire transport network. . The bicycles can be used for deliveries and transport by local businesses or the municipalities themselves.
Finally, rail operators will receive part of a £2m investment for 24 projects to provide more secure cycle parking facilities at 23 stations across the country, with a further £1m dedicated to creation of dedicated cycle paths to 5 stations.
It comes as the government takes action on commitments set out in the Speed Change and Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and will improve both the quality and safety of cycle facilities at stations.