Please be assured that I recognise the importance of this issue and recently raised this matter with the Minister of State at the Department for Transport in the House of Commons.
As well as being greener, active travel helps to reduce pressure on public transport and the road network.
The Government is investing over £2 billion in cycling and walking over the course of this Parliament. As part of this, the 2021 Autumn Budget included £710 million of new investment in active travel funding over the next three years. This funding will deliver hundreds of miles of high quality, segregated cycle lanes, provide cycle training for every child and deliver an e-bike support programme to make cycling more accessible.
The £710 million investment builds on a £338 million package announced in July 2021, which is already delivering high-quality cycle lanes and aiding the delivery of new schemes to encourage walking. In total, I am told that over 1,000 miles of safe and direct cycling and walking networks will be delivered by 2025.
In June 2022, the Government announced that former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman will serve as National Active Travel Commissioner on a permanent basis in order to drive forward active travel efforts and ensure that cycling and walking become the natural choice for shorter journeys. Chris Boardman has emphasised the essential importance of ensuring that active travel are safe and easy.
The newest version of the Highway Code introduces a ‘hierarchy of road users’, a concept whereby the road users able to do the greatest harm are bestowed the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users. The hierarchy is designed to bring about a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users. At the top of the hierarchy is pedestrians (in particular children) older adults and disabled people, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists.