Will Norman starts as first full time Walking and Cycling Commissioner

In the week following the tragic deaths of three cyclists in London, Will Norman, the new Walking and Cycling Commissioner has begun his job. Norman has announced a new "Healthy Streets for London" document, a "blueprint to help Londoners get more physically active... by making London’s streets healthier, safer and more welcoming."

LCC fully supports the Healthy Streets approach, and is working with Living Streets on combined responses to it. We look forward to the Mayor fulfilling his pledges to us over #signforcycling as part of the Walking and Cycling Commissioner's work. As well as announcing new consultations on Cycle Superhighways coming up, The Mayor has repeatedly reaffirmed a commitment to finish the Better Junctions programme, triple the mileage of protected space on Cycle Superhighways and fund a mini-Holland style scheme in every borough. It is understood Norman will be working on much of those pledges under the Healthy Streets banner. The Mayor has already acted on his pledge to make "Direct Vision" lorries the norm in London - although we are pressing him to go further.

Research revealed today shows that getting Londoners walking or cycling for just 20 minutes daily would save the NHS an estimated £1.7bn in treatment costs over 25 years. This includes "85,000 fewer people being treated for hip fractures, 19,200 fewer people suffering from dementia, and an estimated 18,800 fewer Londoners suffering from depression". Currently only a third of Londoners manage this on any given day.

Key to the ‘Healthy Streets for London’ approach will be getting Londoners to "reduce their reliance on car use" and "providing more space for walking and cycling". The Mayoral team also promise a renewed "focus on minimising road danger – directly seeking to address the safety fears people have about cycling and walking more". Modal shift is also seen as the key to tackling congestion in London. The press release says that "every person that isn’t in a car means less congested roads".

£2.1bn will be allocated to a TfL Healthy Streets Portfolio. This includes doubling the spend on cycling as already announced in the TfL Business Plan to near Dutch levels.

"Today we’re outlining some of the key principles that will guide our work over the coming years, working with communities all across London to make walking and cycling a safer, and obvious choice for people from all backgrounds," said Norman.

“Our bold new approach will focus on making walking and cycling a genuine long-term alternative to car use across more of London... The recent tragic deaths of cyclists and pedestrians on our streets is another reason why we must redouble our efforts to make them safer. This includes pushing ahead spending record amounts on cycling infrastructure over the coming years," said Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“The Mayor is absolutely on the right track by promising to reduce car dependency and make it easier for people to walk and cycle, including by tripling the extent of protected cycle lanes and enabling every borough to have a major walking and cycling scheme. We are delighted that Will Norman has today begun the job of bringing these promises to fruition, through the new Healthy Streets approach, so that London’s many communities and places become greener, healthier and more attractive places in which to live, play and do business.” said Ashok Sinha, CEO, London Cycling Campaign.

“We can only expect Londoners to do this if our streets feel safe and more attractive to walk, cycle or spend time on," said Matt Winfield, Acting Director for Sustrans in London.

“A new approach that genuinely prioritises walking, cycling and public transport will improve the health, happiness and quality of life of all Londoners," said Tompion Platt, Head of Policy, Living Streets. 

"The planning, design and operation of streets will play an essential role in creating a safer, greener and healthier city. As London boroughs are responsible for 95 per cent of London's roads, we will need to be at the forefront of the Healthy Streets initiative," said Councillor Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee.