Active Travel England

Active Travel England was officially launched on 24th January 2022, with its headquarters in York. Additionally, former Olympian, Chris Boardman will be the interim commissioner of the body.

But what is Active Travel England?

Active Travel England (ATE) is the government’s new cycling and walking body. This has been set up to improve cycling and walking infrastructure across the country. In addition to this, ATE will be responsible for managing budgets and awarding funding for projects relating to active travel.

ATE will also participate in inspecting schemes and helping local authorities, training staff and spreading good practice in design. Most importantly for developers, ATE can be a statutory consultee in major planning applications (over 150 dwellings) to ensure that the largest new developments properly cater for pedestrians and cyclists.

Further to this, ATE will help support improvements across the country which were highlighted in the Department for Transport, Gear Change report.


The government has also announced £5.5 million worth of new funding for local authorities, train operators and businesses to encourage active travel. This includes;

  • A £300,000 top-up to e-cargo bike schemes.
  • £3 million to improve cycling infrastructure around train stations.
  • £2.2 million to explore active travel on prescription schemes.

Local Authorities can find out more information about funding available through the Active Travel website:

How does it affect developers and Travel Plans?

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.  This can include the lack of securing key infrastructure on and around new developments, to which developers and consultants should be aware of more demanding levels of on-site and off-site highway works.  Enforcement of suitable standards of Travel Planning will also be a focus of ATE on highway authorities in their role, thankfully we consider we are already facilitating this level of standard.

In these regards, the commissioner and inspectorate will perform a similar role to Ofsted (from the 1990s onwards) in raising standards and challenging failure.

Within our Travel Plan monitoring of residential developments, we often hear issues from residents regarding the lack of safe walking and cycling infrastructure. Therefore, we believe the ATE can help facilitate positive change for the residents of the developments, consequently helping us achieve Travel Plan targets.

Further to this, with the positive attitude change to walking and cycling in particular for leisure purposes due to the pandemic, we at Smarter Travel are pleased to see more investment in the active travel industry and we hope that our Travel Plans across the East of England can support the use of increased infrastructure in the near future.

Active Travel England will become fully operational later in 2022.

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