The body, which will be based in York from this summer, will improve and inspect schemes, as well as inspect and publish reports on highway authorities for their performance on active travel, while identifying particularly dangerous failings in their infrastructure.
In addition to this, it will also help councils to create ambitious schemes that will help enable active travel, as well as training staff and spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement.
And news of the body’s formation pleased our chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth.
“The creation of Active Travel England is hugely welcome news as part of the government and Sport England’s continued work to help more people get cycling and walking,” he said.
“A critical part our Uniting the Movement strategy is the creation of safe spaces for activity, which is fundamental to helping people to make moving and exercise part of their everyday lives.
“Active Travel England’s role as a statutory consultee on major planning applications will ensure developments to local communities consider the needs of residents and their ability to choose cycling or walking as viable and safe travel choices.
“It means active travel can become a way of life for communities all over the country, providing a vital boost to health, wellbeing and the environment.
“It’s also great news that Chris Boardman will be at helm of Active Travel England as interim commissioner alongside his role as Sport England Chair.
“His impact as Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner can serve as a model for a better-balanced transport network throughout the nation.
“And as a rightly respected expert in this area, Chris is both well placed and hugely committed to helping both Sport England and Active Travel England deliver on ambitions to make cycling and walking the go to option for shorter journeys.”
Also announced today is a further £5.5m of funding for local authorities, train operators and businesses to encourage various active travel schemes.
The money is being split between a £300,000 top up to the e-cargo bike scheme, £3m to improve cycling infrastructure around train stations and £2.2m to explore ‘active travel on prescription’ programmes.
These prescription programmes are currently in the form of feasibility studies as the government looks to embed active travel into our established system of social prescribing.