The Department for Transport is today (21 July 2022) publishing the framework document for Active Travel England. This confirms Active Travel England’s responsibilities and objectives and sets out its relationship with, and accountability to, the Department for Transport and Parliament.
Active Travel England will lead the delivery of the government’s strategy and vision for creating a new golden age of walking and cycling where half of all journeys in towns and cities are walked and cycled by 2030.
Active Travel England will hold the active travel budget in England, including for new infrastructure and behaviour change initiatives such as cycle training.
It will assess all applications for active travel capital and revenue funding, including from wider funds such as the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, the Levelling Up Fund and the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) and award funding to schemes only if they meet the standards and principles set out in Local Transport Note 1/20, or any later national design standards. It will also inspect new active travel infrastructure to ensure schemes meet these new standards and principles and ask for funds to be returned for any which have not been completed as promised, or not started or finished within the agreed timeframe.
Active Travel England will work with local authorities developing new schemes and support their capacity by delivering training and disseminating best practice.
ATE will also begin to inspect and publish reports on highway authorities for their performance on active travel and identify particularly dangerous failings in their highways for cyclists and pedestrians. In these regards, the commissioner and inspectorate will perform a similar role to Ofsted from the 1990s onwards in raising standards and challenging failure.
It will also act as a statutory consultee in the planning system and review active travel provision in major planning applications.
Ministers at the Department for Transport will have responsibility for Active Travel England. As an executive agency, Active Travel England will have a degree of operational independence in delivering its duties. It will be led by its chief executive officer who will be the agency’s accounting officer and report to Parliament as needed. Active Travel England will also have its own board which will be chaired by the National Active Travel Commissioner.
The framework document will come into effect when Active Travel England is formally established as an executive agency later this year and will be reviewed next year. I am placing a copy of Active Travel England’s framework document in the libraries of both Houses.
The standing up of Active Travel England is gathering pace. Today’s publication of its framework document follows last month’s announcement of senior appointments to Active Travel England. This included confirming Chris Boardman as England’s National Active Travel Commission on a permanent basis and the appointment of Danny Williams as Active Travel England’s Chief Executive.