Active travel needs to be supported and encouraged, says Transport Minister

The public’s increasing interest in walking and cycling must be supported and encouraged as the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdowns, according to Transport Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris.

This morning, the Guardian reports on Mr Heaton-Harris’ speech at an online conference organised by Living Streets.

“This year has been one like no other, changing the way we travel whether it be for work or leisure … We do need to make sure we keep people’s newfound love for walking and cycling,” he said.

According to Mr Heaton-Harris, the government’s £2bn funding for walking and cycling announced last year – with £200m already allocated to local authorities – was proof of the government’s commitment to active travel.

He said that despite vocal opposition to some schemes, the majority of residents backed proposals such as low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and improved cycle lanes and walkways, with two-thirds of respondents to a government-commissioned survey in support of road space being given over to walking and cycling.

“We need to take people with us on this journey, but we know the majority support the improvements to their local communities,” he said.

Mr Heaton-Harris also said that a generation ago 70% of children walked to school, but this had dropped to around 50%. “There is huge potential to increase the proportion of children walking to school,” he said.

Remember that you can hear a great discussion about active travel on our latest Highways Voices podcast – click here.

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