Active Travel England launched in UK to create safer streets for cycling

Posted: 31 January 2022 | | No comments yet

The UK government has launched Active Travel England, following its commitment of £2 billion for cycling and walking in the UK, to inspect and support local authorities’ plans for active travel.

Active Travel England launched in UK to create safer streets for cycling

Active Travel England launched in UK to create safer streets for cycling

As part of the UK government’s ongoing commitment to create safer streets for people to enjoy cycling and walking, it has announced the launch of its new cycling and walking body, Active Travel England (ATE), which will be responsible for driving up the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure in England.

ATE will be headquartered in York from summer 2022 and will manage the national active travel budget and award funding for projects that meet the new national standards set out in 2020, while inspecting finished schemes and asking for funds to be returned for any that have not been completed as promised or have not started or finished by the stipulated times.

As well as approving and inspecting schemes, the new executive agency will help local authorities to train staff in spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement. In order to ensure that the largest new developments properly cater for pedestrians and cyclists, ATE will be a statutory consultee on major planning applications.  

Additionally, the government has also announced £5.5 million of new funding for local authorities, train operators and businesses to encourage various active travel schemes, including:

  • £300,000 top-up to e-cargo bike schemes, to enable businesses across the country to purchase up to 250 more e-cargo bikes to deliver goods in their local area  
  • £3 million to improve cycling infrastructure around train stations, to provide more secure cycle parking facilities at 23 train stations across the country, as well as dedicated cycle routes to five stations
  • £2.2 million to explore active travel on prescription schemes, to support the purchase of e-cargo bikes by local businesses, which can be used for deliveries and transportation by the businesses or councils themselves.  

This comes as the government takes action on the commitments set out in Gear change and the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, and will improve both the quality and safety of cycling facilities at stations.

The UK’s 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.”

The government wants active travel embedded into the UK’s established system of social subscribing, as a proven method to improve physical and mental health. 

Health Minister for the UK, Maria Caulfield, said: “This vital investment in cycling and walking schemes is providing new ways to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation and builds on the rollout of social prescribing across the NHS. We must do all that we can to level up health disparities across the country, meaning that everyone, no matter where they are from, can lead healthier, happier lives.”