Active Travel England meeting

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Chris Boardman’s slides

Brian Deegan’s slides

Introduction from Selaine Saxby MP


  • Welcome everyone to the first APPGCW meeting of the year. Today we are delighted to be joined by Chris Boardman, who was recently appointed head of the new cycling and walking body in England – Active Travel England.


  • Chris will talk to us about his vision for the role, and some of the responsibilities that ATE will have. We will also be hearing from Brian Deegan, who joins Chris as ATE as Interim Head of Inspection.


  • After both have spoken, we will have time for questions. Some of which have been submitted ahead of this meeting, and some which will be taken from the chat function.


 Chris Boardman


  • Monumental time for those of us who have been involved in active travel, as we are here now. Literally have billions of pounds, organisations to deliver, and an incredible strategy. We will also have an organisation to get it off the ground.


  • ATE will assess and advise.
    • Hold the budget
    • Assess bids
    • Advise and assist authorities
    • Statutory consultee on planning applications
    • Assess highway authorities


  • Interact and influence.
    • Related transport and planning policy
    • Cross-departmental
    • Supportive regulations and guidance


  • Educate
    • Courses
    • Workshops
    • Knowledge sharing
    • Tools
    • Guidance
    • Apprenticeships


  • Innovate
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Learning
    • Improving
    • Outcome focused


  • Enable
    • Cycle training
    • Cycle access
    • Trials and pilots


Brian Deegan


  • Role will be to support people, rather than tell people that they are doing things wrong.
  • For local authorities, ATE have been helping people to change designs or update slightly.
  • Have also been able to help guide people to find out what they want. Lots of LAs are struggling with resources.
  • Fundamentally the role is to help people get the best active travel resource that they can.


Q & A


  • What role and how important do you expect funded cycle training to be in terms of behaviour change?


  • Chris – hugely important, and part of Gear Change. Adult training is most productive and sees change. Adults looking at it and saying I can’t do this but I want to do it.
  • Setting up statutory status is a big amount of work, they don’t want to bite of more than they can chew.


  • How do authorities apply LTN 1/20 when there is a combination of a narrow street with narrow footways and a busy road?
  • Brian – What does it mean to comply with LTN 1/20 which is guidance and has lots of ways of doing things. Does not say it has to be segregated.
  • What’s fixed, and what is variable. That is what you have to look at when considering different approaches. There are always lots of different ways to explore solutions.
  • Chris – two fundamentals. Firstly, it is a choice – and one of the things ATE will do is publish a league table of those who want to change the status quo. Nobody is going to be forced to do anything, but they won’t be able to do it badly.


  • Will there be guidance for rural authorities?
  • Brian – not a huge amount in LTN 1/20 or in other design guides. Brian lives in a rural area himself and the Minister is keen on promoting cycling and walking in rural areas.
  • When you have a large city, you turn it into a collection of villages to make it more manageable.
  • There are some difficult scenarios, but there is lots that can be done.


  • What can ATE do to improve design on large developments that already have planning permission with baked in bad design?
  • Need to think about whether it is too late, and therefore retrofitting. Or can you get into the planning cycle and adjust accordingly.


  • Will ATE work with proposals in London Boroughs and TfL.
  • Chris – they are devolved, but conversations has taken place. Although London is ahead of the game and is designing to high standards. They will still need to meet LTN 1/20 but they are already. How ATE interacts with London is still being worked out, but does not anticipate it being difficult.


  • Have you given any thought to how shared e-scooter companies could play a role?
  • Chris – watched the trials with interest. Have to remember they are not active travel, they are micromobility. They are something that exists alongside, and they are also another user of the bike lane potentially.
  • It isn’t ATE, but it is a partner. Has had conversations with the DfT.
  • There is a whole new category emerging of micromobility which we need to be aware of.


  • Bike and e-bike share – will ATE take an interest in them?
  • E-bikes are a tool to be used. Sure the Government will keep that under review in terms of what they may do to support people to go in that direction.
  • What is the scale of ambition in terms of providing safe infrastructure in England?
  • Chris – creating 1,800 mile plan. Happening across the country, and ATE wants to start joining them up and seeing them strategically.


  • What is the ATE split between walking and cycling? And how can you make sure walking gets attention when walking advocates can be quiet compared to cycling ones.
  • Chris – We are walking advocates. It is the thing that would give us a big shift early on in terms of getting to shops and school.
  • Brian – we are doing active travel here. One should not come at the expense of the other. No specific breakdown but have tools to assess the quality of pedestrian schemes as well.
  • Cyclists can be louder, due to misses and near misses. When we start providing a good level of service for both we all want it to get better for both.
  • That is not to say there are good conditions for walking but you do tend to have a walkway.


  • How can we get representative people into the industry?
  • Chris – this is a personal legacy that Chris would like to leave. Sideway crossing is another. In the industry, women are 14%, and massively unrepresentative. ATE has the option to build an organisation that makes sure it represents communities – developing apprenticeships etc.


  • Local councils often buckle under pressure. Will ATE be able to change this impasse?
  • Chris – local councillors are always on the front line, saw this in Manchester. One of the things that they have not been good at, and would like to help the whole country with. How they message this and how they talk about it. Start to talk about the outcomes of what you want for people. Need to start talking about where people live and what people want their local communities to look like.


  • What considerations are ATE taking with regard to bicycle security?
  • Chris – not yet.
  • Brian – Are a bit, assessing bike parking provision and the best standards there. Will be doing design checks and working of best practise. Having ATE means not just signing off cycle parking in a footway – putting it in the carriageway.
  • Chris – London has led the way on this, and the waiting list shows how much demand there is. Can address safety but parking has to be part of it as well.


  • Railway lines?
  • Chris – dealt with this in GM, had some old railway lines that form a link. Need to take people where they want to go, not where it is convenient to put them.
  • Brian – it is fulfilling a genuine transport function. Sometimes people just put gravel on top, but if it is taken seriously as part of the network then it can work well.
  • IF you have separate walking and cycling with full lighting etc. Making sure it is part of the network and not just a dead space behind the bushes.


  • How will ATE support disabled community achieve mobility justice?
  • Chris – Inclusive consultations. Makes a difference when you speak to a council about taking out access barriers and it’s a disabled person showing that it is causing an impact.
  • Has to be integrated from the start.
  • Brian – have to include inclusive mobility – it is a fundamental part of what and how they assess.


  • What are plans to help remove barriers?
  • Brian – where we see them they will be asked to be removed or changed and work with LAs to come up with something more suitable.
  • Have to be sensitive but there are ways. Can provide best practise but Chris will decide what remit is.


  • Do you have any update on the pavement parking consultation?
  • Chris – very live at the moment. With Ministers at the moment, so can’t currently discuss it at the moment.
  • Should get the results in the not too distant future.


 Closing remarks.

Thank everyone for attending and our two speakers. Safe to say the group will be following the work of ATE closely and always happy to help where possible.





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