Chris Boardman appointed National Active Travel Commissioner on a permanent basis

Chris Boardman MBE, has been appointed National Active Travel Commissioner on a permanent basis.

Chris Boardman will continue to inspire the nation into getting about on foot and by bike after being appointed as permanent National Active Travel Commissioner alongside several other senior officials, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced today (28 June 2022).

Chris, who has served as Interim Commissioner since January 2022, will head up the new executive agency alongside Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Danny Williams and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Louise Wilkinson.

Over the past decade, the Olympian has been one of the country’s most prominent active travel advocates and has served in Greater Manchester as Transport Commissioner and Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

Danny Williams, who is expected to be confirmed as Active Travel England’s CEO shortly, has spent over 25 years leading media businesses, including setting-up a start-up and developing large and high performing teams within global corporations.

In his spare time, Danny has been advocating for change in how villages, towns and cities approach walking and cycling. He was a member of the Mayor of London’s Roads Task Force.  

Louise Wilkinson has a long career in strategic finance and accounting within the civil service and local government. Most recently she has worked for the Cabinet Office as a Deputy Director of Finance.  

Active Travel England also today announced Graham Grant as its Director of Planning and Development. Grant, currently Assistant Director of Transport at Newcastle City Council, is expected to take up his post in the autumn. He joins Brian Deegan, who was announced as Director of Inspections in May 2022.

Confirming the appointments, Cycling Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Today’s appointments are another great step for Active Travel England as it continues to make sure getting around our towns and cities on foot or by bike is an easy and attractive option.

“Chris, Danny, Louise and the rest of the incoming team are hugely respected experts in their field and are dedicated to making people-friendly streets a reality. I wish them every success and will do all I can to support them.”

Chris Boardman said: “I am thrilled to be announced as permanent National Active Travel Commissioner and to be given this incredible opportunity. To help change the travel culture of a nation is by far the most important thing I have ever, or will ever, be involved in.

“For cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, people must feel safe and the options must be easy.

Active Travel England aims to help local authorities across the country deliver that environment, so that people can get to schools, shops and workplaces under their own steam. That’s the kind of place people want to live and the freedoms they want for their children.”

Danny Williams added: “If you were to put down on paper my dream job, this is it. I’m passionate about building successful teams from the ground up and I have been an active travel advocate for the past 20 years. It’s a huge privilege to be able to combine those interests as CEO of Active Travel England.

“I want to support councils to be bold and create an environment that is going to change people’s everyday lives for the better. It doesn’t get more exciting than that.”

Louise Wilkinson added: “I can’t wait to take on the role of COO at Active Travel England and be part of this exciting journey. This is something I really believe in and I am proud to be part of a team that will help transform active travel and deliver real change. 

“I will be focusing on putting in place all the things we need to succeed and to ensure that councils and other delivery partners are supported every step of the way.”

Last month DfT announced that millions of people across the country will benefit from cleaner air and cheaper ways to travel and keep active thanks to £200 million of government funding for 134 new active travel schemes.

Active Travel England will oversee delivery as part of its ambition to drive up the standards of infrastructure across the country and make walking, wheeling and cycling the easiest choice for local journeys.   

Chris Boardman has been appointed with immediate effect. Danny Williams and Louise Wilkinson are expected to take up their posts in August.

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