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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 - December 2017 (pdf)


Sustrans says

A selection of our articles, blog posts and news.

Hitting UK cycling targets can prevent thousands of deaths from air pollution (04/12/17) New Sustrans research reveals more than 12,000 premature deaths from air pollution would be prevented over ten years, if both England and Scotland reached their respective official goals to get more people to walk and cycle. In addition, there would be £9.31 billion worth of benefits to the economy over the same time period.

For better air quality, we need to stop relying on cars (27/11/17) Alexander Quayle writes: Scotland’s air quality crisis cannot be solved by waiting for new technology to improve public health.  The government’s planned Low Emission Zones (LEZs) need to look not just at the type of vehicle in cities, but at how they can reduce the number of cars congesting cities and polluting our air.

Bike Life 2017: People in cities want protected space for cycling (14/11/17) Bike Life, the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities, reveals four out of five people (78%) want more protected bike routes on roads built to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic. 64% would cycle more if on-road cycle routes physically separated from traffic and pedestrians were available. However, currently a total of just 19 miles of cycle routes on roads, physically separated from traffic and pedestrians exist in six of the seven cities (excluding Birmingham where no data is available).

Bike Life 2017: Protected bike lanes will transform our cities (16/11/17) Bike Life 2017 showed strong support for cycling by residents in the seven UK participating cities for protected bike lanes. With such strong demand from the public, we review the evidence about protected bike lanes including their role to improve safety, normalise cycling for everyone, increase the numbers riding bikes, improve street capacity and create more liveable streets.

Walking and cycling routes along disused railway lines must be maintained (29/11/17) Responding to the Department for Transport’s announcement to re-open disused railway lines, Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans said: "Whilst we welcome the potential re-opening of disused railway lines in principle, it will be critical that the many walking and cycling routes which have been built along some of these lines are also maintained.  These routes, some of which form the National Cycle Network, are a critical part of the country's active travel infrastructure and strategy, encouraging people to walk and cycle in a safe environment, as well as providing important commuting access for people choosing to travel actively to work.”

Autumn Budget presents a huge opportunity to respond to the public appetite for alternatives to car travel (22/11/17) As part of the Autumn Budget today, the Chancellor announced a £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund and a £220m Clean Air Fund to improve local transport and to improve air quality.  Responding, Xavier Brice, Chief Executive at Sustrans, said: “The new Transforming Cities Fund coupled with the new Clean Air Fund presents a huge opportunity for Local Authorities to prioritise investment in walking and cycling and respond to the public appetite for alternatives to car travel.”

Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe Thames crossing consultation welcomed by Sustrans (08/11/17) Sustrans have welcomed the news that Transport for London have launched a consultation on the options for a new cycling and walking river crossing in East London.  In March 2016 Sustrans published a detailed feasibility study into a bridge for walking and cycling across the Thames, between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf. This led to Transport for London adopting the project and a commitment from the Mayor to accelerate progress. The consultation closes on the 8 January 2018 and asks for views on the type of crossing and its location. 

Key developments

Towards more physical activity in cities (14/11/17) This publication from the World Health Organisation focuses on physical activity and how it can be supported through urban planning. The focus on physical activity is explained by the fact that inactivity today accounts for an increasing proportion of deaths and disability worldwide and is associated with significant health care costs and productivity losses.

A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities (19/08/17) This report from the Local Government Association identifies congestion as a serious problem for economic development, quality of life and public health. It identifies the steps that innovative councils have taken to reduce congestion and its impacts.  The report features steps that the Government could take to work with councils to ensure that traffic growth is better managed, congestion is reduced and our air quality problems are tackled.  These include giving councils the resources and powers necessary to improve air quality.

Commuting trends in England 1988 to 2015 (07/11/17) A report by the Department for Transport has been released showing how commuting behaviour has changed between 1988 and 2015. The changes are driven by changes in working patterns and travel behaviour.  Since the late 1980s there has been a downward trend in the number of commuting trips from 7.1 journeys per worker per week in 1988/92 to 5.7 in 2013/14.  More than half (56% in 2013/14) of commuting journeys are made by car as a driver. This proportion was stable through to 2008, after which it decreased by several percentage points.  Cycling to work has increased in London, but the trends elsewhere have been mixed.

Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2017 (23/11/17) Report published by the Department for Transport.  A total of 801 billion miles were travelled across the UK. This publication breaks down the statistics by travel mode, trip purpose, road casualties and commuting trends.  The average distance walked by individuals was on average 198 miles in 2016, the equivalent of the distance from London to the Yorkshire Dales. Walking accounted for 25% of the total trips made but only 3% of the total distance travelled in Britain. People cycled an average of 53 miles in 2016.

Consultations and inquiries

Sustrans responses

Upcoming consultations and inquiries

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