Strategy sets out ambitions to step up walking and cycling in UK

The government has laid out plans to improve walking, cycling and wheeling routes in the UK, so active travel could account for half of all journeys into towns and cities by 2030.

£2bn worth of funding has been committed to achieving this over five years, with £200m given to active travel schemes across England, including a £35m National Cycle Network.

400,000 bike repair vouchers have been delivered through the programmes and there are plans to deliver more cycling routes, widen pavements, improve crossings and create quieter streets.

Additionally, a new body, Active Travel England (ATE), has been created to set standards for active travel infrastructure, engage with the public, conduct training and encourage behaviour change.

woman in gray sweater riding bicycle during daytime

‘This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike, said Active Travel Commissioner, Chris Boardman, when investment for active travel projects was announced. ‘Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.’

Among the aims included in the recently published cycling and walking investment strategy was ambitions to increase the percentage of short journeys into towns and cities from 41% in 2018 to 2019 to 46% in 2025.

There are also targets to double cycling activity and increase the percentage of primary school-aged children walking to school from 49% in 2014 to 55% in 2025.

Active travel investment is based on Equality Impact Assessments (EqIAs) to ensure new infrastructure adequately meets the needs of different communities across the UK.

Investment is also set to be integrated into wider transport and growth plans, with local authorities encouraged to embed active travel infrastructure into policies and designs.

Funding will go towards a range of different projects, including cycle training, local authority capability, behaviour change outreach, e-cycle support and Mini-Holland active travel prescription pilots.

Active travel programmes could also have a positive impact on health as it’s estimated that health conditions caused by poor physical activity costs the NHS £1bn per year, with indirect costs at around £8.2bn.

Photo by Beeline Navigation


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