Local government place directors have launched a policy paper calling for active travel to be empowered by new motoring charges.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) document calls on ministers to 'empower LAs [local autorities] to introduce road pricing/eco-levy with a substantial proportion of funds protected for active travel schemes'.
It also suggests there should be more support for councils introducing workplace parking levies (WPL), with a large share of the revenue put towards workplace focused active transport initiatives.
The paper was released at the same time as the Government new comprehensive active travel strategy, and there is some crossover between the plans, however ADEPT also makes more specific points that go further than the Government's actions to help pinpoint areas of maximum impact.
Fowowlling the Government's ambition to further integrate active travel and planning, ADEPT called for 'more ambitious national targets for walking, cycling and modal splits in new developments that are clearly tied into the National Planning Policy Framework'.
It also urges 'long-term, dedicated funding to support the development, delivery and (critically) maintenance of active transport initiatives'.
The ADEPT document outlines a range of plans and proposals for the key organisation's future active travel work. These include:
- Lobbying government to ensure that public sector spending decisions recognise both capital and revenue spending equally, so that the focus is not primarily on building new infrastructure over typically revenue-funded activities around supporting active travel
- Work with members to weave active travel and climate change agendas together, highlighting the co-benefits and opportunities to deliver climate emergency action plans
- Provide a community of best practice, collective thinking and options appraisal, including through our partnership with Proving Services
- Encourage members to develop Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) in order to achieve national consistency, enable more effective cross-boundary working and embed LCWIPs into wider local authority travel plans
- Help articulate the different active travel issues between densely populated urban areas and more sparse rural areas, as well as the issues relating to transport poverty.
Chair of the ADEPT transport board and 1st vice president Mark Kemp said: 'The concept of a ‘20 minute neighbourhood’ where people have everything they need - schools, shops, recreation and work - within a 20-minute walk is gaining traction across government.
'Enabling active travel is going to be fundamental to delivering rejuvenated neighbourhoods and creating brilliant places with stronger local economies, where people are able to enjoy a higher quality of life with cleaner air, a healthier lifestyle and a greater focus on local communities.
'ADEPT members are ready to work with government to make this truly a ‘new era’, but to succeed, these changes can only be made at the local level, using local knowledge and securing the buy-in of communities through clear engagement. To do that, place directors must have the resources in place and the ability to lead.'
ADEPT is the voice of local authority county, unitary and metropolitan strategic place directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.