The government has launched a new cycling and walking body, Active Travel England (ATE), with £5.5 million of funding announced to boost air quality and improve the health and wellbeing of people.
Olympic Gold Medallist and Cyclist Chris Boardman has been chosen as the interim Commissioner of the agency.
York-headquartered ATE will be responsible for driving up standards of cycling and walking infrastructure and managing the active travel budget, while awarding funding for projects set out in 2020.
It will also help local authorities to train staff in spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement as well as inspect highway authorities for their performance and identify particularly dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
The £5.5 million funding includes a £300,000 top-up for e-cargo bike scheme, £3 million to improve cycling infrastructure around train stations and £2.2 million to explore active travel on prescription schemes.
Active Travel Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Cycling and walking are not only beneficial for our health and the environment but can also be great fun and is a brilliant way to connect communities.
“This funding is about giving people across the country the opportunity to try different forms of travel, as well as supporting local businesses with the transition to greener transport. I’m very much looking forward to working with our new active travel commissioner to improve standards for everyone.”
Mr Boardman will be the leading figurehead for active travel and be closely involved in the recruitment of the chief executive and management team.
We’ll do more than encourage them, we will enable them to get to shops, schools and workplaces under their own steam, by providing high quality, safe joined up routes . Looking forward to it. https://t.co/ML16WqlWX8
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) January 22, 2022
He added: “The positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are clearly visible in pockets around the country where people have been given easy and safe alternatives to driving. Perhaps most important of all, though, it makes for better places to live while helping both the NHS and our mission to decarbonise.
“The time has come to build on those pockets of best practice and enable the whole nation to travel easily and safely around their neighbourhoods without feeling compelled to rely on cars. I’m honoured to be asked to lead on this and help deliver the ambitious vision laid out in the government’s Gear Change strategy and other local transport policies.
“This will be a legacy we will be proud to leave for our children and for future generations. It’s time to make it a reality – it’s time for a quiet revolution.”