There will be an additional £2.5 million of government funding for active travel, Trudy Harrison, Active Travel Minister at the Department for Transport has announced.
Speaking at Living Streets’ National Walking Summit this week, she announced that the further funding would allow for the continuation of active travel behaviour change outreach programmes.
The £2 million will fund Living Streets’ Walk to School Outreach project to run in over 1,000 schools in England. The Walk to School Outreach programme has led to 17 million new walking journeys and 1.8 million fewer car miles since 2017, supporting the Government’s objective that 55 per cent of primary school children walk to school by 2025.
Further funding announced will also support the expansion of the successful Modeshift STARS programme next year, allowing more schools and businesses to promote more sustainable and active modes of travel. And a new Active Travel Academies pilot, in partnerships with Modeshift and the Bikeability Trust, will support young people to become Active Travel Ambassadors as well as providing the skills and infrastructure to walk and cycle to school.
Trudy Harrison MP, Active Travel Minister, Department for Transport said: “Behaviour change outreach programmes are key to giving people the inspiration, information, skills and confidence to enable them to choose to walk, wheel or cycle more of their everyday journeys.
“The funding I was pleased to confirm today will allow Living Streets, Modeshift and Bikeability Trust to ramp up activity and work with partners to remove even more barriers to walking and cycling. I’m particularly keen to see progress in including those from more deprived communities in these programmes.”
Stephen Edwards, Interim Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “We want every child who can walk to school to be able to do so. This funding is a step towards making that happen.
“Walking rates to primary schools have declined rapidly within a generation. However, in schools where we run our walk to school challenge, the opposite is true. Walking rates in our WOW schools typically increase by 23 per cent and the number of cars at the school gates reduces by 30 per cent, helping to reduce congestion, air pollution and road danger.
“We are excited to be working in partnership with Modeshift and Bikeability Trust to continue to help people change behaviours and develop healthy habits for life.”
Nick Butler, Business Director, Modeshift said: “The Modeshift STARS scheme has seen incredible growth over the last 2-years with two thirds of local authorities in England now engaged in the programme. Since the scheme began, we have seen over 4,000 sites successfully apply for STARS accreditation, and this additional funding will enable us to further expand our reach.
“We’re thrilled to be working alongside our partners, Living Streets and The Bikeability Trust, on developing exciting new offers for education settings, businesses and communities to support and enable more people to choose sustainable and active travel options for everyday journeys. We’re particularly excited about the new Active Travel Academies pilot that will empower young people to take action in their own communities to deliver positive local impact.”