Former Tour de France yellow jersey holder and Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman has been appointed as England’s permanent National Active Travel Commissioner, after initially serving in an interim role to establish the new Active Transport England (ATE) peak lobby group.
Chris has served as Interim Commissioner since January and his permanent appointment was announced on 28th June by the UK Department of Transport, along with the positions of several other senior officials.
The former Olympian has been one of the country’s most prominent active travel advocates over the past decade, and has served in Greater Manchester as Transport Commissioner and Walking and Cycling Commissioner.
“I am thrilled to be announced as permanent National Active Travel Commissioner and to be given this incredible opportunity” he said.
“To help change the travel culture of a nation is by far the most important thing I have ever, or will ever, be involved in.
“For cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, people must feel safe and the options must be easy,” he added.
“Active Travel England aims to help local authorities across the country deliver that environment, so that people can get to schools, shops and workplaces under their own steam. That’s the kind of place people want to live and the freedoms they want for their children.”
When the ATE was announced in January, it included £5.5 million (A$10.38 million) in new investment in cycling and walking schemes.
A head of several media business over the past 25 years, Danny Williams, is expected to be confirmed as ATE’s CEO.
He was a member of the Mayor of London’s Roads Task Force and has been an advocate for how villages, towns and cities approach walking and cycling.
MP Trudy Harrison, in confirming Chris’s permanent appointment, said even though ATE only has a handful of officers in place, it has already delivered significant benefits, in line with the government’s Gear Change commitment to improve the quality of walking and cycling infrastructure.
ATE has assessed and awarded £161 million of funding for 134 Active Travel Fund projects announced in May, including schemes in 46 authorities outside London.
“This early work will enable 16 million extra cycling and walking journeys to take place each year,” she said.
“It has also developed a suite of tools that will help local active travel projects deliver high-quality infrastructure and it has delivered training and engagement events for local authorities. Its work will significantly improve value for money of cycling and walking schemes.”