Policy Scan

Sustrans Policy Scan is a regular summary of key policy thinking, reports, announcements and consultations:

Sustrans says
Sustrans press comments, reports and campaigns relating to policy

Key developments
Relevant government and other organisations’ policy/reports/campaigns

Consultations and inquiries
Sustrans' responses and upcoming consultations

Latest Policy Scan - September 2016 (pdf)

Sustrans says

Our take on Scotland’s continued cycling commitment (12/09/16) John Lauder, Sustrans Director for Scotland, responds to the Scottish Government’s Programme for Scotland 2016-17. John welcomes the clear direction from the Scottish Government and its continued commitment to funding. 

Help children to walk and cycle to school (14/09/16) Sustrans, alongside other active travel and health organisations, calls for the unallocated portions of the ‘soft drinks levy’ proposed in the Obesity Plan to go towards enabling more children across the country to walk and cycle to school.

Fixing London’s congestion problem (06/09/16) Nicholas Sanderson’s blog for Sustrans discusses how London has thrived because of its constrained roads which has led to pioneering alternative forms of transport. Nick puts forward four suggestions for the future to help London meet rising travel demands as our capital’s population continues to increase. 

Calling on the public to improve the Active Travel Act in Wales (08/16) Wales’ Active Travel Act requires local authorities to develop long term, comprehensive plans for walking and cycling networks.  It is essential that the plans reflect the views of local people and the Act requires local authorities to consult with anyone who asks to be involved.  Sustrans Cymru has joined forces with Cycling UK, Living Streets and Welsh Cycling to create a new webtool that makes it easy for people to register their interest in being involved. 

Key developments

Health in a Hurry – The Impact of Rush Hour Commuting on our Health and Wellbeing (24/08/16) The benefits of active travel are well-established and there is growing evidence demonstrating the detrimental impact of lengthy, non-active commutes on our health and wellbeing. 

Uncertainty Ahead: Which Way Forward for Transport? (23/08/16) The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation’s (CHIT) Futures Initiative release their latest report on the future of transport. ‘Uncertainty ahead’ reviews the social, technological, economic, environmental and political challenges for the transport profession.

Policy Futures for Urban Transport - our vision and roadmap (16/09/16) A report from the Urban Transport Group that sets out their vision for how future UK urban transport policy could unfold in a way that enables the nation’s urban areas to deliver smart and sustainable growth that has far-reaching benefits.

Report Card from Active Healthy Kids Wales (08/08/16) Active Healthy Kids Wales has released a report card detailing the country’s position on children’s physical activity. The card aims to provide a clear evidence base on 10 quality indicators related to physical activity that should be used to advocate and influence local, regional and national policies and investments in physical activity for children and young people.

Moving with Communities - Strategies and Approaches for Getting Communities Active – The British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health is holding its annual conference on 17 March 2017.  The conference will examine the latest evidence on whole community approaches to promoting physical activity.

New partnership to tackle inactivity in Manchester (29/07/16) Sport England has set up a partnership with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership – the body of 37 NHS organisations and councils in the city region – to improve levels of inactivity.

Developing & Delivering Successful Sustainable Transport Initiatives in Your Area  - A Westminster Briefing event on 16 November to hear what the Government is doing to boost local sustainable travel and to discuss how to access available funding.

Improving Local Air Quality Management: Next Steps – A Westminster Briefing event being held on 6 October.

The Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy: Next Steps - A Westminster Briefing event being held on 22 November. 

Study finds impact of road transport on air quality not given sufficient priority in UK transport planning (pdf) (30/08/16) Air pollution in UK cities has failed to improve because politicians prioritise road safety and economic growth instead, research suggests. The research, to be presented at the Royal Geographical Society conference, suggests the issue of traffic pollution falls between the transport and environment departments, but is neglected by both.

Association between recreational and commuter cycling, changes in cycling and type 2 diabetes risk (02/09/16) Dr Adrian Davis, Public Health Adviser to Bristol City Transport Services, reviews research which suggests it is beneficial to encourage middle and old age adults to engage in commuter and recreational cycling to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in later adulthood.

GPs encouraged to use social prescriptions (06/09/16) Local authorities are being encouraged to make better use of social prescribing including exercise prescriptions to improve people’s health in a new report released by the Local Government Association (LGA). 

Physical Activity tool (09/16) The Physical Activity tool is one of a series of products produced by Public Health England providing local data alongside national comparisons to support local health improvement. The tool brings together data for the whole of England on physical activity, including walking and cycling, as well as data on related risk factors and conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Child pedestrian casualties and deprivation (09/09/16) Dr Adrian Davis, Public Health Adviser to Bristol City Transport Services, suggests engineering measures that modify the physical and traffic environments where injuries occur and wider social policy measures in the places where the casualties live, may be most effective in reducing the number of child traffic injuries among deprived socio-economic groups.

National Travel Survey, 2015 (08/09/16) The latest results from the National Travel Survey 2015 for England reveal that walking trips are in decline. In 1995/97 walking accounted for 27% of trips, while in 2015 walking accounted for 22% of trips.

Consultations and inquiries

Sustrans responses

Upcoming consultations and inquiries

Health and wellbeing



Climate change



Previous editions