We’re proud to announce that our Head of Network Development in the North team, Mike Babbitt, has been awarded Outstanding Professional Campaigner of the Year in the Leeds Cycling Campaign awards.
Head of Network Development in the North team, Mike Babbitt, has been awarded Outstanding Professional Campaigner of the Year in the Leeds Cycling Campaign awards.
Making cycling and walking easier for everyone
The campaign group highlighted Mike’s work heading up the team responsible for the upgrading of the Aire and Calder Navigation path between Leeds City Centre and Woodlesford.
The route has become extremely popular for commuting and leisure during lock-down.
Mike and the team are also working with Leeds Cycling Campaign to improve the very poor access at Skelton Grange Road Bridge.
This key link for access to the Trans Pennine Trail is a major barrier for people with larger mobility scooters, adapted bikes and pushchairs from using the route, as well as many experienced riders.
The North team also managed the project with Leeds City Council to create a foot and cycle bridge over the River Aire near Skelton Lake.
The bridge and connecting cycleway and footpath links Temple Newsam with Rothwell, and the Trans Pennine Trail with the city centre.
Delivering high-quality infrastructure
David Miles from Leeds Cycling Campaign says:
“Mike is passionate about delivering high-quality cycling infrastructure in Leeds and across the whole of the North of England.
“The upgrade of the Trans Pennine Trail (Route 67) between Leeds City Centre and Woodlesford which he led with his team has resulted in greatly increased numbers of people enjoying this beautiful route.
“Mike also successfully worked with a wide range of stakeholders to deliver the Skelton Lake walking and cycling bridge which has provided many new walking and cycling opportunities in East Leeds.
“Mike has also been hugely supportive of Leeds Cycling Campaign's ambitions to provide access for all at Skelton Grange steps in South Leeds.”
An award for the whole team
Mike Babbitt says:
“I was surprised and delighted to have won this award.
"Of course, it’s really an award for the whole team of engineers and designers who have worked hard on these projects, as well as the partner organisations, including local authorities and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“Upgrading the routes into Leeds has helped to highlight the importance of creating an accessible route over Skelton Grange Road Bridge.
"Leeds Cycling Campaign and our local volunteers have done a great job to bring attention to this issue, and we are working together with local authorities to try to find a solution which works for everyone.
"Yorkshire has many fantastic walking and cycling routes as part of the National Cycle Network but many of them are in a poor state of repair and have barriers that stop many people using them.
"Our priority now across Yorkshire and the North is delivering high-quality paths that everyone can access.”
The work continues
Sustrans has been working in Leeds for over 25 years.
Mike and the team are working with local authorities and funders such as the Department of Transport and Highways England to improve the quality and accessibility of routes across the National Cycle Network in Yorkshire as well as across the North of England.
There are over 1,000 miles of National Cycle Network in Yorkshire, around a third of which is traffic-free.