We were very pleased to hear at the weekend that the Department for Transport’s has established Active Travel England! Active Travel England is a new agency that will help ensure that the transport system in England enables more active travel (the clue’s in the name!).

The front page of the Gear Change report. it has a Department for Transport logo and images of people cycling and walking in everyday life.

As promised in the 2020 Gear Change report, Active Travel England will do this by:

  • Providing resources and training for local authorities to help spread good practice in local transport projects
  • Award funding for projects which meet the standards of Local Transport Note 1/20 (LTN 1/20)
  • Inspect finished projects and ask for funding to be returned if they fail to meet these standards
  • Inspect and publish reports on highways authorities and their contribution to active travel

The monitoring and support role of Active Travel England is the vital counterpart to LTN 1/20. LTN 1/20 provides guidance for local authorities, transport and urban planners, engineers, and designers to help make sure that our streets meet the needs of all types of cyclists. Wheels for Wellbeing worked with Department for Transport to ensure that this crucial document covers the infrastructure needs of Disabled cyclists. It’s THE guide on how to design cycling infrastructure.

Front page for the Cycle Infrastructure Design document, it is green and dark green with geometric patterns on it. a Department for Transport logo in the top left and the words Local Transport Note 1/20 July 2020 on the bottom left of the image.

However, there’s often a gap between theory and practice, and this is where Active Travel England comes in. By providing advice and support for local authorities, Active Travel England can help ensure that local authorities are aware of the contents of LTN 1/20, and understand how to apply it. By inspecting finished projects and being able to claw back funding from projects which aren’t up to scratch, Active Travel England can ensure that the guidelines in LTN 1/20 have been kept to, and can develop further guidance and examples of best practice.

We were also pleased to hear that Chris Boardman has been appointed as interim commissioner at Active Travel England. Chris Boardman’s previous role was as Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester (followed by Transport Commissioner most recently, also for Greater Manchester), where he helped develop a plan for 1,800-mile “Bee Network” of cycle infrastructure for the city region. The Bee Network is designed to meet the ’12 year old and double buggy test’: it will be suitable for a competent 12 year old on a cycle, for someone pushing a double-buggy, for wheelchair users, and for people in non-standard cycles – in short, it will be suitable for everyone. The Bee Network is still under construction, but we hope that Chris Boardman will bring this level of ambition and inclusivity to Active Travel England. The Department for Transport tweeted a video from Chris Boardman to thank Greater Manchester for their contribution to the development of the Bee Network – see if you can spot our Head of Campaigns and Policy, Kay Inckle, with her handcycle!

An image of Chris Boardman the new interim commissioner at Active Travel England, it shows his face and shoulders only, the background is blurry, and he has a blue shirt just visible one.

Isabelle Clement, director of Wheels for Wellbeing, says “I congratulate Chris Boardman on his appointment at the helm of Active Travel England. How exciting that we now have an organization which will ensure that walking, wheeling and cycling become real options for all of us! There is a lot to do and Wheels for Wellbeing looks forward to working with Chris and Active Travel England on making sure that their work brings radical improvements for Disabled walkers, wheelers and cyclists”.

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