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, awarding funding for projects that meet the new national standards set out in 2020.
It will inspect finished schemes and ask for funds to be returned for any that have not been completed as promised or have not started or finished by the stipulated times.
ATE will also begin to inspect, and publish reports on, highway authorities for their performance on active travel, and identify particularly dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians.
As well as approving and inspecting schemes, ATE will help local authorities to train staff in spreading good practice in design, implementation and public engagement.
It will be a statutory consultee on major planning applications to ensure that the largest new developments properly cater for pedestrians and cyclists.
Boardman will be closely involved in the full stand-up of ATE, including the recruitment of the chief executive and management team.
He has been appointed on an interim basis, while the Department for Transport conducts a full and open competition for the permanent commissioner role.
The government is today also announcing £5.5 million of new funding for local authorities, train operators and businesses to encourage various active travel schemes, including:
- a £300,000 top-up to e-cargo bike schemes
- £3 million to improve cycling infrastructure around train stations
- £2.2 million to explore active travel on prescription schemes
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.”