Active Travel England created to oversee UK Goverment’s £2Bn cycling and walking investment

27 July 2020

A new Government department dubbed Active Travel England will be created to oversee the spend of the earlier pledged £2 billion allocation for active travel over the next five years.

The announcement came as part of an expected Government pledge to improve conditions for cyclists and walkers, as well as to press active travel’s benefits as a tool to beat the obesity crisis. At present two thirds of the UK population is overweight.

The key takeaways from the announcement are not so much the funding, which overall comes in at £500 million less than a separate budget created to fix potholes alone (£2.5Bn), but in the small print where cycling campaigners will see small victories. These include:

  • As expected, long-awaited design standards for cycling infrastructure will soon be ready.
  • The creation of a ‘national e-Bike programme’ – this will enable the elderly, or those who travel far to take to bikes as part of journeys. Detail to follow.
  • Active Travel England becomes the new inspectorate to ensure that projects meet new design standards. Paint on the road will no longer be a permissible option when applying for funding.
  • A new approach on health will be piloted in selected places with poor health rates to encourage GPs to prescribe cycling, with patients able to access bikes through their local surgery.
  • Improvements are due on the National Cycle Network, which unfortunately Sustrans recently declared has become much shorter as standards have fallen on some stretches.
  • Making streets safer by consulting to strengthen the Highway Code to better protect pedestrians and cyclists; improving legal protections for vulnerable road users; raising safety standards on lorries; and working with the police and retailers to tackle bike theft.
  • Supporting local authorities by empowering them to crack down on traffic offences; and consulting to increase metro mayors’ powers over key road networks.
  • Some of the pre-pledged cash to go on transport hub upgrades, notably parking for bikes. This upgrades will also feature in city centres, while on street storage solutions will be rolled out for those who may not have storage space for a cycle at home, or where flats are designed to be car free.

The announcement, while pledging no new money, guarantees a pipeline of funding to be overseen by Active Travel England

Read the full story on Cycling Industry News