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Government must build on increased walking rates with more investment

12 July 2016

New figures released today show that rates of walking have increased in virtually every local authority area in England. 

Figures from the Department for Transport show that the proportion of people walking frequently increased for the second consecutive year:

  • 3.3 per cent increase in people walking once a week
  • 7.1 per cent increase in people walking three times a week
  • 6.9 per cent increase in people walking five times a week

The statistics also reveal around 15 per cent of adults cycle at least once a month, a similar figure to previous years.

Bridget Fox, Sustainable Transport Campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “It's great news that people are walking more. Travelling on foot or by bike helps gets cars off the road, improves health and helps make greener and more prosperous places to live. The Government needs to build on this momentum and pump more funding into its forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Most funding for local transport schemes is still led by Local Enterprise Partnerships, who, as our LEP Watch research shows, typically allocate just £2 in every £100 on walking schemes and only £1 on cycling.”

The top ten principal local authorities in England, outside London, which have seen the largest increase in walking since 2012/2013 are:

  • Cheshire East - 13 per cent
  • Leicester - 13 per cent
  • Darlington - 13 per cent
  • Hartlepool – 12 per cent
  • Redcar and Cleveland – 12 per cent
  • Bracknell Forest – 12 per cent
  • Warrington – 12 per cent
  • Poole – 11 per cent
  • Medway – 11 per cent
  • Peterborough – 10 per cent

Bridget Fox added: “Of the top 10 local authorities for increased walking, eight received funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund which was used to encourage more sustainable forms of transport in the area. These statistics show that investment in walking and cycling works and more is needed.”


For further information please contact Alice Ridley on 020 7566 6495 / 07984 773 468 or alice.ridley@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. The Department for Transport’s Local Area Walking and Cycling Statistics include information on walking and cycling by adults (aged 16 and over) in England for local authorities and regions for the year ending mid-October 2015. The statistics are based on results from the Active People Survey (APS9), an annual telephone survey administered by Sport England.
  2. Campaign for Better Transport set up LEP Watch to monitor spending on transport projects by Local Economic Partnerships, bodies set up to spend public money on economic development in their areas. In 2015 just over 50 per cent of the projects and project spend by LEPs was allocated for new road capacity, whilst 2 per cent went on walking and public realm improvements and only 1 per cent on cycling projects. You can see a full breakdown of LEP spending here.
  3. The top ten percentage increases from 2012/13 to 2014/15 of adults who walk at least three times a week by principal local authority (outside London) are:
  • Cheshire East – 13.49 per cent
  • Leicester – 13.13 per cent
  • Darlington – 13.06 per cent
  • Hartlepool – 12.46 per cent
  • Redcar and Cleveland – 11.96 per cent
  • Bracknell Forest – 11.88 per cent
  • Warrington – 11.56 per cent
  • Poole – 11.02 per cent
  • Medway – 10.55 per cent
  • Peterborough – 10.40 per cent                       
  1. Local authorities that received funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund are:
  • Cheshire East Council - Growing Smarter Travel Choices in Crewe received £3.509 million which was used to deliver sustainable travel solutions for people living and working in Crewe. 
  • Darlington Borough Council - The Local Motion project received £4.076 million to address current traffic levels on the A167 and A68 corridors by improving public transport quality. 
  • Leicester City Council - Leicester Fit for Business  received £4.418 million to work with businesses and communities to encourage people to travel to work by low carbon and active transport choices by providing, amongst other things,  improved bus, walking and cycling information and creating a bank of cycle trainers and travel advisors to provide travel advice and training to businesses and communities. 
  • Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council - Get Moving Redcar & Cleveland  received £1.490 million to improve options for sustainable travel, improve residents’ access to employment and other services, and reduce carbon emissions from private car use. 
  • Bracknell Forest Council - Town centre regeneration with improved travel choices received £1.664 million to build sustainable transport infrastructure improvements and complement them with behaviour change initiatives.
  • Walk to School Outreach received £4.761 million. This project is a partnership of eleven local authorities (Durham County Council, Leicester City Council; Hertfordshire County Council; Hartlepool Borough Council; Blackpool Council; Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council; Wirral Borough Council; Buckinghamshire County Council; Hampshire County Council; West Sussex County Council; and Stoke-on-Trent City Council). The aim is to increase levels of walking to school, with particular attention paid to locations where school travel is having a particularly negative impact on congestion, journey times and economic growth.
  • Warrington Borough Council - Warrington Sustainable Travel Triangle received £4.650 million to, amongst other things, provide new and improved cycle routes and cycle hire.
  • Peterborough City Council - Travelchoice Plus received £5 million. Specific measures include improvements to pedestrian and cycle access at the train station; widening of shared use footways and cycleways; implementation of real-time passenger information; secure cycle parking; and city-centre based cycling infrastructure. Barriers to cycling will be removed, priority road crossings will be installed and an interactive walking map will be produced.
  1. The Government’s Cycling and Walking Strategy outlines how its aims to increase rates of walking and cycling. Read it in full here: Cycling and Walking Strategy
  2. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).