GM Transport Commissioner Boardman appointed to government agency

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Olympic gold medalist cyclist Chris Boardman will become national commissioner of the government’s new cycling and walking body, Active Travel England, which will launch today (January 22).

Active Travel England (ATE) will be responsible for raising the standards of cycling and walking infrastructure and managing the national active travel budget, providing funding for projects that improve both health and air quality .

The ATE will also begin to inspect and publish reports on road authorities for their active travel performance and identify particularly dangerous failures of their motorways for cyclists and pedestrians.

Boardman, born in Wirral, won a gold medal in the individual pursuit at the 1992 Summer Olympics, broke the hour world record three times, won three stages and wore the yellow jersey at three times in the Tour de France.

In May last year he was appointed Greater Manchester’s first transport commissioner.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “While I am obviously sad to lose Chris as Transport Commissioner, I am absolutely delighted that he now has the opportunity to do what he has done to Greater Manchester nationwide. We didn’t want him to leave and, given that we are in the January transfer window, I am looking forward to agreeing the transfer fee with the Transport Secretary.

“Over the past four years, Chris has spearheaded our ambitious plans to build the largest cycling and walking network in the UK. His forensic attention to detail and can-do attitude has put Greater Manchester in a strong position as we head towards the delivery of the Bee Network – a fully integrated London-style public transport network.

“Chris has done a brilliant job for Greater Manchester and I would like to thank him on behalf of everyone here. His influence will be felt here for decades to come. I am sure he will do just as well in his new role. and he goes there with our best wishes.

In addition to approving and inspecting programs, the ATE will assist local authorities, train staff and disseminate best practices in design, implementation and public engagement. This will be a statutory consultant on major development applications to ensure that the most important new developments properly accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.

Boardman will be closely involved in the full set-up of ATE, including the recruitment of the CEO and management team. He has been appointed on an interim basis, while the Ministry is holding a full and open competition for the position of permanent commissioner.

The new body will be headquartered in York from summer 2022 and preliminary work is already underway, reviewing councils’ plans for active travel and helping them create ambitious programs that will get more people walking , ride and cycle safely.

The government is also today announcing £5.5million in new funding for local authorities, rail operators and businesses to encourage a variety of active travel schemes, including a £300,000 top-up to E-cargo bikes, £3m to improve cycling infrastructure around stations. and £2.2m to explore ‘active prescription travel’ schemes.

Active Travel Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Cycling and walking are not only good for our health and the environment, but can also be great fun and a great way to connect communities.

“This funding aims to give people across the country the opportunity to travel in different forms, as well as support local businesses in the transition to greener transportation.”

Chris Boardman said: “The positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are clearly visible in pockets across the country where people have been provided with simple and safe alternatives to driving. 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 depend on the car. I am honored to have been invited to lead this dossier and help achieve the ambitious vision set out in the government’s shift strategy and other local transport policies.”

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.

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