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New government strategy launched to encourage walking and cycling

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced a new government strategy to encourage more walking and cycling.

On Saturday (27 March 2016), a blueprint to encourage more walking and cycling was launched by the government, which plans to get people to travel on bike or on foot for shorter journeys.

By 2020, the new strategy aims to have people choosing the natural alternative to travelling shorter distances, or as part of a longer journey, by bike or on foot rather than driving or using public transport.

It includes ambitions to double cycling, reverse the decline in walking, reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured and increase the number of children walking to school.

This strategy focuses on making a major shift from short term funding streams for cycling and walking, and will be supported through providing safe and attractive infrastructure to encourage people to choose a healthier option of travel for themselves and the environment.

This will boost the economy, improve health, cut congestion and improve the air quality.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Realising our ambition will take sustained investment in cycling and walking infrastructure. That’s why we have committed over £300M to support cycling and walking over this Parliament and this will increase further when spending on enhancing and maintaining existing infrastructure is taken into account.

“Delivering this long term plan will require patience, persistence and a change in attitudes – amongst government, local bodies, businesses, communities and individuals. We cannot afford not to grasp the opportunities available and we are determined to make this country a cycling and walking nation, comparable to the very best in the world.”

A consultation has been launched, finishing on Monday 23 May 2016, which will be assessed for the final strategy which will be published in the summer.

The government will also issue guidance to local bodies on developing local plans, with individual and tailored interventions identified to fit with local areas.

The government will take the lead on issues such as setting the framework and sharing knowledge and good practice.