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Active Travel England to Deliver a Golden Age of Cycling & Walking

Chris Boardman, image by TFGM
Chris Boardman, image by TFGM

Active Travel England (ATE) is to deliver government strategy and vision, and create a golden age of cycling and walking. That’s according to the DfT press release that accompanied the publication of the ATE framework document yesterday.

Chris Boardman is confirmed as ATE’s National Active Travel Commissioner, and Danny Williams is the body’s Chief Executive.

Summary of ATE’s Roles

ATE’s roles include:

  • holding the active travel budget for England
  • assessing applications for active travel funding and checking the new infrastructure that is delivered to see if it cuts the mustard
  • helping local authorities design schemes and delivering training
  • inspecting local authorities and reporting on their performance
  • statutory consultee in the planning system

Holding the Budget

ATE will hold the active travel budget for England, for infrastructure and behaviour change initiatives.

Assessing Applications for Active Travel Funding and New Infrastructure

It will assess applications for active travel funding (both capital and revenue schemes), and only award money to those that are LTN 1/20-compliant.

ATE will also assess the new infrastructure. It will be able to ask for the money back if:

  • schemes are not completed to the standards as promised or
  • schemes are not started or finished within the agreed timeframe

Helping and Inspecting Local Authorities

The organisation will also work with local authorities, delivering training and helping design new schemes.

Another function of ATE is to inspect local authorities, much as Ofsted does with schools. ATE will report on local authorities’ performance and identify dangerous failings, with a view to challenging failure and raising standards.

ATE Role in the Planning System

ATE will be a statutory consultee in the planning system, reviewing active travel provision in major planning applications.

The Framework Document

The information set out above comes from the press release. More detail is given in the framework document.

ATE is to be a Model 2 Executive Agency of the DfT.

Part of its role is to drive up standards, and the capacity and motivation of local authorities to deliver active travel infrastructure. It will have a direct relationship with local authorities distinct from the DfT.

ATE’s strategic aim is to achieve 50% of trips in towns and cities by walking and cycling by 2030.

50% of trips by active travel, from Transport Decarbonisation Plan
50% of trips by active travel, from Transport Decarbonisation Plan

This will be done by various means, including:

‘Putting walking and cycling at the heart of transport, place-making, and health policy, so travelling without a car is easy and accessible, utilising a long-term walking and cycling programme and budget’

para 17 of the ate framework document

The Secretary of State for Transport appoints the ATE Chief Executive, and provides guidance and direction about ATE’s strategic aims and objectives.

ATE’s principal point of contact at the DfT is ‘the Active Travel sponsorship team’.

ATE’s status is due for review in 2025.

Active Travel England to Deliver a Golden Age of Cycling & Walking

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