The concept of building neighbourhoods where people have everything they need within a 20-minute walk is ‘gaining traction across government’, according to council directors.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has today launched a new document, which argues that active travel is here to stay, and that walking and cycling must be designed into the travel network to maintain the changes that COVID-19 has brought about.
But the document says the government must empower local authorities to go further if it is serious about its commitment to achieving net zero and tackling climate change.
It argues that successful measures must be made permanent and councils must be enabled to bring about structural change.
To do this, however, councils must be properly resourced with long term capital and revenue funding to ensure both the delivery and ongoing maintenance of active travel infrastructure created through local cycling and walking infrastructure plans.
It comes as the government announces a new strategy to get people walking and cycling, which includes £50 bike repair vouchers tonight to encourage more people to enjoy the benefits of active travel.
Earlier this month, members of the Green Party on the London Assembly called for more ’15-minute neighbourhoods’ in the capital.
‘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,’ said the chair of ADEPT’s transport board, Mark Kemp.
‘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.’
The launch of the government’s new bike voucher scheme has been welcomed by retailer Evans Cycles, which has announced that it is rolling out its new 24-Hour Servicing Pledge, committing to complete all mechanical services booked in advance within 24 hours (subject to availability of parts).
A spokesperson from Evans Cycles said: ‘It is truly amazing to see so many people getting back on their bikes. The past few months have presented significant challenges to both customers and staff, and we’ve worked extremely hard to meet unprecedented demand, safely and responsibly while providing hundreds of free bike MOTs to key workers across the country’
‘The new voucher scheme presents a fantastic opportunity to help revive any bike that might benefit from a bit of care and repair. We hope the public embrace the opportunity of the funding, so that more people can discover that life really is better by bike.’