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 - August 2017 (pdf)


Sustrans says

A selection of our articles, blog posts and news.

UK Government’s Air Quality Plan shows lack of leadership (3/08/17) There is still some hope for cycling and walking as part of the solution to our air quality crisis but local authorities will need to lead. Rachel White, our Senior Policy and Political Advisor, reflects on the publication of the UK Government’s Air Quality Plan.

Active Travel Toolbox launches to help boost walking and cycling (28/07/17) Our new, free toolbox, which includes guides, resources, tools and case studies, is organised into three areas: making the economic case for active travel; linking active travel and public transport to housing growth and planning; the role of active travel in improving health.  It has been written by Sustrans in partnership with Living Streets, the TAS Partnership and Dr Adrian Davis.

Our response to the UK Government’s Air Quality Plan (26/07/17) Xavier Brice, Chief Executive of Sustrans, said: “The Government’s plans for tackling poor air quality have signalled the end of the car as we know it, but they lack the necessary government urgency, action or investments to make alternatives to car travel, such as walking and cycling, a realistic option for short journeys”.

Cycling investment the way ahead for towns and cities (19/07/17) A new study shows trips by bike have increased in 18 cities and towns in England following a programme to encourage cycling for shorter urban journeys.  The study measured the impact of two government funded programmes of investment in cycling. Trips by bike increased across both programmes overall and also in each town and city. 

Greener Greenways project recognised as best practice case study (18/07/17) Our UK-wide Greener Greenways project has been identified as one of five best practice European case studies that highlight planning and delivery of green and active travel infrastructure.  The 'Green Active Travel Routes' case studies were identified by not-for-profit design and landscape architecture practice Here and Now, on behalf of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT).

A global health challenge needs global and local solutions (11/07/17) Andy Cope writes: Sustrans is supporting plans by the World Health Organisation to develop a Global Action Plan on Physical Activity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published plans for the development of a Global Action Plan on Physical Activity in May 2017, in the form of a 'zero draft'. It will "include the proposed vision, strategic objectives and set of actions and interventions for all relevant stakeholders, which when collectively implemented, will increase levels of physical activity and improve the physical, mental and social wellbeing of all peoples”.

The draft will be made available by WHO for web consultation from mid-July, and after a series of consultations, the aim is to have a final draft by May 2018.

Transport Investment Strategy for England shows no sign of prioritising cycling and walking (05/07/17) Responding to the Government’s newly announced Transport Investment Strategy, Jason Torrance, our Policy Director said:  “Whilst balancing investment between strategic and local roads is welcome, the Transport Investment Strategy shows no sign of the UK Government prioritising everyday travel choices and increasing levels of cycling and walking, leaving Local Authorities to pick up the mantel of improving air quality, health and congestion with alternatives to car travel”.  

Key developments

Government’s Air Quality Plan (26/07/17) The Government recently released its Air Quality Plan: UK Plan for tackling roadside concentrations. The plan aims to bring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution within statutory limits in the shortest possible time.

Government launches transport investment strategy for Britain (05/07/17) The Department for Transport has released a plan for transport investment. The plan aims to invest in transport infrastructure to better connect places and reduce congestion to support a stronger more balanced economy.

National Travel Survey 2016 (27 July 2017) The National Travel Survey (NTS) is a household survey designed to monitor long-term trends in personal travel and to inform the development of policy.

Spatial planning for health: an evidence resource for planning and designing healthier places (06/07/17) A new report from Public Health England which provides the findings from an evidence review examining the links between health, and the built and natural environment to help inform policy and support local action.

Getting girls active: Reducing gender inequality in physical activity (20/06/17) A new report has been published by the University of Bristol.  It found most girls are less active than boys from childhood to adolescence. Creative and concerted efforts are needed to directly address this gender gap. The research shows that peers, parents, active travel to school, and after-school clubs hold promise to help girls become and stay active.

Traffic-law enforcement and its relationship with risk of death from crashes (28/06/17) Dr Adrian Davies finds that traffic-law enforcement effectively reduces the frequency of fatal motor-vehicle crashes in countries with high rates of motor-vehicle use. Inconsistent enforcement, therefore, may contribute to thousands of deaths each year worldwide.

Cycling towards a more sustainable transport future (19/06/17) This lead editorial in Transport Reviews found cycling to be the most sustainable urban transport mode, feasible not only for short trips but also for medium-distance trips too long to cover by walking. Cycling causes virtually no environmental damage, promotes health through physical activity, takes up little space, and is economical, both in direct user costs and public infrastructure costs.

Call for fair funding for e-bikes (20/07/17) Converting from petrol and diesel motors to low emission vehicles, including electric cars, is an important part of cutting carbon emissions and cleaning up air pollution. So is switching to using electric bikes. The Campaign for Better Transport is calling for the Government's Office of Low Emission Vehicles to give grants for switching from cars to electric bikes in the same way that it gives grants for switching to electric cars.

Health profile for England (13/07/17) Public Health England has released a 'State of the nation’s health report'.  People are living longer than ever before, however, many of the added years are spent in poor health. Physical activity is listed as one of the leading modifiable behavioural risk factors for poor health, especially amongst more deprived communities. 

Consultations and inquiries

Sustrans responses

Upcoming consultations and inquiries

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