Two people walking

With the Local and Mayoral elections now behind us we’ve launched into work for the General Election to make sure whoever forms the next UK government will be looking to increase walking, improve air quality in our towns and cities and make our streets safer and more enjoyable for people to use. Our Rachel Maycock breaks it down.

Rachel Maycock

This election we’ve teamed up with like-minded active and sustainable transport organisations, including Sustrans, Cycling UK, British Cycling, Ramblers, Campaign for Better Transport and the Bicycle Association.

Working together we agreed to focus our policy ‘asks’ on three things:

Commit to a new Clean Air Act to tackle air pollution.


Invest in improving local roads and streets from the planned Roads Fund that will use the revenues of Vehicle Excise Duty from 2020-21.

Reaffirm the commitments in the UK Government's Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England - ie, by the year 2025, to double cycling journeys to 1.6 billion per year; increase walking journeys to 300 per person per year; and ensure 55% of children aged 5 to 10 walk to school.

We contacted all the political parties, some individual candidates we have worked with over the years, plus some of the party staff who were probably going to be doing the actual writing of these huge manifestos. We also wrote an open letter, which was published in The Times.

Almost all of the manifestos have now been published – some have even had a few versions out there - and here is a quick analysis of what the political parties have promised to do if they win on 8 June.


The Conservative Party promises to invest in transport, £600 million by 2020 to help almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 and low-emission buses.

They will also continue to support local authorities to expand cycle networks and upgrade facilities for cyclists at railway stations.  

They have a plan for prosperous towns and cities to be healthy, well-designed and well-tended places and they will take action against poor air quality in urban areas by planting trees in towns and cities, and they’ll encourage the very best practice in the design of buildings and public spaces, reduce litter, and improve the quality of road surfaces.  

There will also be £1.1 billion to improve local transport in their National Productivity Investment Fund.

Read their manifesto


The Labour Party plans to encourage and enable people to get out of their cars, for better health and a cleaner environment, and position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport. 

They will invite the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network and have reaffirmed the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. 

They will reset the UK’s road safety vision and ambitiously strive for a transport network with zero deaths, reintroducing road-safety targets, setting out bold measures that will continuously improve safety standards.

Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act and allow communities to shape the kinds of high streets and town centres they want.

Read their manifesto


Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats will push for clean air and green transport to prevent 40,000 premature deaths a year and save the NHS £15 billion.

They will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan to reduce air pollution and protect UK citizens, and support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, including by extending ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities.

They will invest in better transport infrastructure so there is less congestion and pollution on the roads.

They also plan to design towns and cities as safe and attractive walking spaces and implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

Read their manifesto


The Greens

The Green Party will work to make our streets and roads safer for everyone. They will introduce clean, safe, accessible public transport and more walking and cycling to make us all healthier and happier.

They believe it should be easy to choose to leave the car at home - or not have one at all and that all public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.

They will also invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling, including safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter.  

The Greens want to help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads and create equality of access to nature and green spaces, to enhance leisure, health and wellbeing.

Read their manifesto


Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru wants to see a real Wales-wide transport system, and will ensure that walking and cycling is integrated with bus and rail services with a transport system fit for the 21st century so people can travel in and around Wales easily.

They will introduce a new Climate Change Act, adopting ambitious but achievable greenhouse gas and pollution reduction targets for 2030 and 2050.

Read their manifesto



The SNP manifesto promises to invest in infrastructure, including health infrastructure and they have produced a draft Climate Change Plan to reduce emissions.

Read their manifesto



UKIP didn’t include anything on walking, active travel or air quality, but they propose 30 minutes' free parking in town centres and improvements to street maintenance.

Read their manifesto

Our Walking Cities campaign

We need cities designed around people not vehicles. And now's the time to put the case.

Walking Cities

Walking Cities: Edinburgh

Call for the city to put people at the heart of Edinburgh and make it a world class city for walking.

Walking Cities

Call for cities that are designed around people not vehicles.