Sir Chris Whitty, who became a famous face in the UK during the pandemic as he gave regular TV briefings in his ongoing role as England’s chief medical officer, has joined an advisory panel that is to promote active travel across the nation.
Working alongside West Midlands’ mayor, Andy Street, chair of the Office of Rail and Road, Declan Collier and Arup’s global transport leader, Isabel Dedring, Whitty will support Active Travel England’s aim to make walking, wheeling and cycling the first choice for everyday trips.
The advisory panel will meet quarterly with a mix of online and in-person meetings. The appointments have been made on a voluntary basis, with expenses paid where applicable. The first meeting with took place in late October.
“This new advisory panel will be key to supporting the government’s ambition to get more people walking, wheeling and cycling by transforming active travel infrastructure across the country,” says active travel minister, Baroness Vere. “Better infrastructure will not only improve connections to employment, education and local services but improve our mental and physical wellbeing and help to level up the country. I look forward to working with Sir Chris, Andy, Declan and Isabel to achieve this.”
“Exercise improves health and Active Travel England’s mission is shared by the health service,” says Sir Chris. “We all want to see more people incorporating active travel into their day as a way to keep mentally and physically fit.”
“Active travel is a key part of achieving so many of the government’s top priorities, so we want to link up with those agendas from the very start,” says national active travel commissioner, Chris Boardman. “Providing low-cost, healthy travel options to get to schools, shops and workplaces will revitalise high streets across the country and help us decarbonise at the same time. Active Travel England was created to deliver healthy, sustainable transport growth, and I’m delighted we now have such incredible experts to help us get the job done.”