Cyclist Chris Boardman is to become national commissioner of the Government’s new cycling and walking body, Active Travel England (ATE), which launches today.
ATE will be responsible for driving up the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure and managing the national active travel budget. The Government has also announced £5.5m of funding for local authorities, train operators and businesses to encourage various active travel schemes.
ATE will inspect finished schemes and ask for funds to be returned for any that have not been completed. It will also help local authorities to train staff in spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement.
The new body will also assess highway authorities for their performance on active travel in order to identify dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
Mr Boardman has been appointed on an interim basis, while the Department for Transport (DfT) conducts a full and open competition for the permanent commissioner role.
‘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,’ said active travel minister Trudy Harrison.
‘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.’
Active travel commissioner for England Chris Boardman said: ‘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.’