Olympic cycling gold medalist Chris Boardman will lead a new government agency tasked with improving cycling and walking infrastructure in England.
The Department for Transport has announced that Mr Boardman has been appointed Acting Commissioner of Active Travel England (ATE), which will launch on Saturday.
ATE is responsible for managing the national active travel budget, providing funding for projects that improve health and air quality.
It will approve and inspect active travel patterns and identify highway failures that are dangerous to vulnerable road users.
The new body will also help disseminate good practices in the design, implementation and public engagement of new infrastructure.
The agency will be headquartered in York from the summer.
Meanwhile, the government has announced a £5.5million investment in cycling and walking schemes.
– £3 million to improve cycling infrastructure around stations.
– £2.2million to explore NHS mandated active travel.
– £300,000 for electric cargo bike initiatives.
Mr Boardman, who delivered the first phase of Greater Manchester’s active travel scheme known as the Bee Network, said the positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are ‘clearly visible in pockets of the country where people were given easy and safe alternatives to driving”.
He continued: “Perhaps most important of all, however, it creates better places to live while helping both the NHS and our decarbonisation mission.
“Now is the time to build on these pockets of best practice and allow the entire nation to move easily and safely through their neighborhoods without feeling like they have to rely on cars.”
He added: “It will be a legacy that we will be proud to leave for our children and future generations. It’s time to make it a reality; it’s time for a quiet revolution.