Olympic cycling gold medallist Chris Boardman is to lead a new Government agency tasked with improving cycling and walking infrastructure in England.
The Department for Transport announced that Mr Boardman has been appointed interim commissioner of Active Travel England (ATE), which launches on Saturday.
ATE is responsible for managing the national active travel budget, awarding funding to projects that improve health and air quality.
It will approve and inspect active travel schemes, and identify failings in highways which are dangerous for vulnerable road users.
The new body will also help spread good practice in design, implementation and public engagement in relation to new infrastructure.
The agency will be headquartered in York from the summer.
Meanwhile, the Government announced £5.5 million of investment in cycling and walking schemes.
– £3 million to boost cycling infrastructure around railway stations.
– £2.2 million to explore active travel being prescribed on the NHS.
– £300,000 for electric cargo bike initiatives.
Mr Boardman, who delivered the first phase of Greater Manchester’s active travel system known as the Bee Network, said the positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are “clearly visible in pockets around the country where people have been given easy and safe alternatives to driving”.
He continued: “Perhaps most important of all, though, it makes for better places to live while helping both the NHS and our mission to decarbonise.
“The time has come to build on those pockets of best practice and enable the whole nation to travel easily and safely around their neighbourhoods without feeling compelled to rely on cars.”
He added: “This will be a legacy we will be proud to leave for our children and for future generations. It’s time to make it a reality; it’s time for a quiet revolution.”