Overhaul planned for London's National Cycle Network

Woman presenting Sustrans' vision

Kelly Clark, Sustrans Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London, launches the Paths for Everyone vision and introduces London's action plan to improve the Network.

Man presenting Sustrans vision in London

John Grimshaw, Sustrans founder, tells how the Network was built from scratch with incredible energy. It carried an amazing 377m cycling trips and 410m walking trips in 2017!

People on new Bridge on Thames Path

The new bridge on the Thames Path at Greenwich, part of NCN1, is an example of how successful ambitious plans can be.

Infographic about NCN

The network is popular with all kinds of people walking and cycling, but we want it to be more accessible for everyone

19 November 2018

On Friday 16 November, Sustrans founder John Grimshaw joined Kelly Clark, our Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London, Sustrans staff and partners from across the capital to launch London's plans to overhaul the National Cycle Network. 

The London launch formed part of our exciting nationwide shared vision for the National Cycle Network: to create ‘A UK-wide network of traffic-free paths for everyone, connecting cities, towns and countryside and loved by the communities they serve.’ 

Everyone should have the option to walk or cycle

The 16,575 mile Network is an incredible national asset and is as important to London as anywhere else, with 163 miles of the Network in the capital alone. Our first ever review of the Network, ‘Paths for Everyone’ has shown that while parts of it are of good quality in London, this isn’t universal.  

Our ambition is that the Network in London will be a place that welcomes everyone to experience the joy of walking and cycling and inspires them to share it on local adventures with others. It should be a place where people can discover they have the option to walk and cycle for their everyday local journeys, rather than being dependent on the private motor vehicle.

Our London action plan shows that there's exciting work ahead to achieve our vision in London. And we want to hear from you about where you think the Network needs improving, so we've made it easy for everyone to help shape our plans: please share your comments on where the network needs improvement.

A place for people to start using London's growing walking and cycling network

In London, our work isn’t going to be about creating a comprehensive, dense network of routes across the whole city – the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is already planning and delivering this.

Instead, our Network will complement this by providing places where people can build the confidence to start using London’s growing cycling network. It will show off some of the best places in the city – both local gems and those recognised internationally. It will link to the Network outside London and as a UK-wide asset, it will be recognised throughout the UK.

We've already seen that ambitious National Cycle Network improvements work in London. The recent opening of the "missing link" on the Thames Path in Greenwich, funded as part of the Quietways program, has enabled local people to walk and cycle away from busy roads. The path is part of our long distance Route1 from Dover to the Shetland Islands. 

Safety improvements top priority

Of our 163 miles of Network within the Greater London boundary, 66 miles (41%) is on-road and 97 miles (59%) is on traffic-free paths. In a growing city of over 8 million people, it is unlikely our share of the Network will ever be 100% traffic-free. So it is vital that we undertake work to make it safer and easy for everyone to enjoy.

We know a range of measures are needed, like neighbourhood-wide projects to reduce through traffic and speeds in residential streets, protected cycle lanes and protected junctions on busy roads, safer crossings for cyclists and pedestrians, new bridges or structures, better signage and new and improved paths in green spaces.

You can find out more information in our National Cycle Network review action plan for London.

Improving safety on the Network so that everyone can use it is our top priority here in London.

- Kelly Clark, Sustrans Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London

Working together is key to success

We’re keen to work with all our partners on our Network Development Plan, which will identify where changes and projects are needed to deliver the vision. We’ll be working with Boroughs, managing authorities and Transport for London, and will also include developers, charitable and private landowners and other local stakeholders where relevant. We’ll also call on the extensive local knowledge of our volunteers, and valuable input from users will help shape our action plans. We can’t do this on our own.

Delivering this vision will require many projects, some tiny, some huge, all essential. We hope our report inspires you to help us ensure a bright, exciting future for the Network in London and join with all our valued stakeholders, supporters, volunteers and community friends to turn this vision into reality.

Kelly Clark, Sustrans Head of Infrastructure Delivery in London, said:

“Improving safety on the Network so that everyone can use it is our top priority here in London. 

“We want the National Cycle Network in London to be a place where everyone can discover the joy of walking and cycling with their friends and family. Starting out on high quality and quiet routes through interesting, iconic or beautiful places can help people to build enthusiasm and confidence to walk for more their everyday local journeys.

“Politicians and policy-makers know that building walking and cycling into our daily routines are the clear winners when it comes to tackling the health and air quality issues which not only damage Londoner’s lives, but cost billions every year.”

On the whole, 2 miles of the network in London were deemed very good, 108 good, 7 poor and 46 very poor. 

Please share your views on where you think the National Cycle Network needs to be improved by adding comments our National Cycle Network interactive tool.