Advocacy papers

Title: Active Travel: increasing levels of walking & cycling in England

Organisation: Transport Committee
Date uploaded: 7th August 2019
Date published/launched: July 2019

This report says the economic, human and environmental costs of inactivity, climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion are huge - and increased levels of walking and cycling can help combat all of these, and urges policy makers to give it the attention it deserves.

In the report, the Transport Committee calls for leadership from Government through more ambitious targets and increased funding. It says ministers must signal to local authorities and the public that active travel is a priority with long-term benefits for individuals and the country as a whole.

More ambitious targets from Government
The report recommends the Government revises its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy as current targets for cycling and particularly walking, are not ambitious enough. There is also a compelling case for the Government to set targets and a strategy for enabling people to get out of their cars and make the switch to active travel for short trips or as part of a longer journey.

Increased funding
Funding for active travel is piecemeal and complex, says the report. The 2bn which the Government has said will be spent on active travel in this Parliament is welcome but equates to 400m a year. This is a tiny sum compared with spending on other areas of transport, just 1.5% of total Government transport spending. The Transport Committee recommends a dedicated funding stream for delivering improvements which will increase levels of walking and cycling and increased total funding for active travel.

Climate change
In 2018, Transport was one of four parliamentary select committees which recognised the importance of active travel to reducing the detrimental effect private vehicle use has on air quality.

In May 2019, Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency, and in June 2019 the Prime Minister announced that the UK will aim to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050. The Committee on Climate Change has identified changing people's mode of travel choice from cars to walking and cycling is one way of reducing their carbon footprints and help meet UK and global climate goals.

This report calls on Government to act on this by giving active travel the priority it deserves.

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