Active Travel England’s £60 million package is set to empower parents and children to embrace active travel for their school commutes. By funding initiatives that enhance road skills and promote eco-friendly transportation choices, this investment seeks to transform the daily school run into a healthier and more enjoyable experience.
Expanding Bikeability Cycle Training
A significant portion of the funding, £50 million, will be allocated to expand the Bikeability cycle training program, benefiting an additional million young people. Bikeability, which has been in operation since 2007, has already provided valuable training to over 4 million children. This expansion will equip more youngsters with the skills and confidence to cycle safely.
Supporting Walk-to-School Programs
In addition to cycling initiatives, £5 million will support walk-to-school programs, targeting hundreds of thousands of students in schools across England. These programs will be administered through the charity Living Streets, with the aim of encouraging more pupils to choose walking as their mode of transport to school.
The Vision of Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman
Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman emphasized the importance of giving children transport independence and enabling them to walk, wheel, or cycle to school. He believes that this £60 million funding package will help restore the joy in daily journeys and empower a generation of young people to make healthier and greener travel choices.
Government’s Commitment to Active Travel
Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman expressed the government’s commitment to promoting active travel among young people. The £60 million investment aims to provide children across the country with the freedom, mental, and physical health benefits of cycling.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb highlighted the essential role of the school commute in a child’s day. He emphasized that Active Travel England’s investment in active travel initiatives for children will have a positive impact on their health and overall well-being. These initiatives align with the School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which encourages active and safe travel to school.
Part of the funding, £4 million, will be used to extend Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival program until March 2025. This program has already engaged over 80,000 people of all ages, helping them learn cycling basics and build confidence while pedaling.
Promoting Active Travel in Communities
An additional £500,000 will fund an extension to the Modeshift STARS and Active Travel Ambassador schemes. The STARS program recognizes excellence in supporting active travel plans within communities, while Active Travel Ambassadors work with secondary school students to encourage active travel among their peers.
Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive of Living Streets, emphasized that this funding will encourage more families to choose active ways of traveling to school, benefiting the nation’s health, reducing congestion, and improving air quality. The programs initiated by Living Streets have already been highly successful in encouraging more children to walk to school.
Empowering Children with Cycling Skills
Emily Cherry, Chief Executive of the Bikeability Trust, expressed enthusiasm about the funding, highlighting the shared ambition of ensuring that every child has the confidence to cycle. This investment will enable Bikeability instructors, training providers, and grant recipients to work towards this goal, ensuring that no child leaves school without the knowledge, confidence, and opportunity to cycle.
Active Travel England’s £60 million investment represents a significant step toward promoting active travel among children, empowering them with essential skills and promoting greener transportation options. This initiative aligns with broader efforts to create a healthier and more sustainable future for the next generation.