The UK’s leading walking and cycling organisations are backing plans to get more people walking and cycling, as the Government today (13 November) announces the second round of its Active Travel Fund.

The Walking and Cycling Alliance sets out the urgent case for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and uses evidence and case studies from across the country to tackle the urban myths that have emerged around them.

The WACA report - 'The Urgent Case for More Walking and Cycling' - brings together leading voices in the active travel movement, including Chris Boardman and former Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Mary Creagh, to answer frequently asked questions about congestion, and perceived effects on business, emergency services and local consultation.

 

Man using an LTN

In May, the government announced a £225m emergency active travel fund for councils in England to encourage people to adopt healthier travel habits, help social distancing and prevent traffic congestion. Funding was also made available by the Scottish and Welsh Governments to councils to implement walking and cycling measures.

Tranche 1 was for temporary Covid related measures, whilst today’s tranche 2 is for longer-term projects that provide safe spaces for people to walk, cycle and wheel.

Speaking on behalf of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, Mary Creagh, CEO, Living Streets said:

“Everyone should feel safe to walk, cycle, wheel or scoot on our streets, but that is not the case in too many towns and cities. Across the country, there is a silent majority in favour of more people-friendly streets, but all too often their voices are drowned out by a vocal minority.

“It’s vital more people start walking and cycling for local journeys, to reduce congestion, improve air quality and tackle the twin epidemics of loneliness and obesity.

“We hope this report will support councillors to build back better after the pandemic.”

 

It’s vital more people start walking and cycling for local journeys, to reduce congestion, improve air quality and tackle the twin epidemics of loneliness and obesity. We hope this report will support councillors to build back better after the pandemic.

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets

The report was authored by members of the Walking and Cycling Alliance: British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Sustrans and the Ramblers, and gives ten reasons to encourage walking and cycling:  

  1. People want Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and cycle lanes, and opposition has been inflated

  2. LTNs and cycle lanes reduce congestion

  3. LTNs and cycle lanes are good for business

  4. LTNs and cycle lanes help disability access

  5. LTNs and cycle lanes can reduce response times for emergency services

  6. Pop-up LTNs and cycle lanes are part of a consultation process - and not necessarily permanent if they don’t work

  7. There is widespread public support for LTNs and cycle lanes

  8. LTNs reduce congestion rather than simply pushing traffic elsewhere

  9. If we build cycle lanes and LTNs, people will use them

  10. Active travel schemes are great value for money.

Commenting on the Active Travel funding released today (13 November), on behalf of Living Streets, Mary Creagh said:  

“Going for a walk has been the easiest, greenest way to stay happy, healthy and connected during the pandemic.  

Communities have long felt powerless to turn back the growing tide of traffic running through them but School Streets and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have started to give streets back to people. 

“This new funding will reduce congestion and help us stay active through the pandemic and beyond.”