Smart Transport

Active travel generates billions of pounds for UK economy, new report suggests

walk and cycling sign

Walking, wheeling and cycling is worth more than £36 billion to the UK economy, says a new report by the charity Sustrans.

Now, a group of organisations representing active travel, motoring, road safety and business leaders is urging the Government to protect a £4billion funding pot, earmarked to help ‘level up’ walking and cycling across the country. 

The organisations have written to Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan to emphasise the vital contribution of walking and cycling to the UK urban and rural economic growth and to society. 

This comes after a report released by Sustrans, the UK’s largest walking and cycling charity, highlights that walking, wheeling and cycling generated £36.5billion to individuals and the UK economy in 2021. 

This is based on the direct economic benefits of walking and cycling as well as others such as reducing the cost of traffic congestion and running a car, improved health and reduced burden on the NHS, and fewer sick days at work. 

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, said: “It’s clear that active forms of travel, such as walking and cycling, bring in billions of pounds of economic benefit. Plus, as people are hit by the cost of living crisis, affordable ways of getting around are critical.

“People must have the opportunity to make the active travel choice instead of expensive car use, to boost people’s spending power for the benefit of the economy and our hopes of growth.”  

The letter, signed by members of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, along with the AA motoring organisation; CPRE, the countryside charity; Brake; the Road Safety Foundation; the Urban Transport Group; and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), calls for protection of the cycling and walking budget, already committed in the second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2022, to foster aspirations for growth and to support people living through the cost of living crisis.

Read the Sustrans report


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