Active Travel England – what we have learnt so far

15 Aug 23

Iceni have prepared many Accessibility & Connectivity Studies across the country to demonstrate how well-connected sites are, or can become, to existing communities and places of work.

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As most in the industry are already aware, as of 1st June, Active Travel England (ATE) became a new statutory consultee for large planning applications of schemes equal to, or exceeding, 150 housing units, 7,500 m2 of floorspace or an area of 5 hectares.

Despite the government announcing a £200million cut to the Active Travel Budget in England back in March 2023, the significance has become increasingly more apparent, with many authorities supporting the ambition to improve walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure, which Iceni are very much aligned with.

Since June 1st, it has rapidly become evident that ATE consultation responses are holding significant weight to planning applications. So, what is actually required to satisfy ATE?

To avoid a recommendation to defer from ATE, you must first clearly demonstrate that Active Travel has been sufficiently considered within the scheme, as well as external to the site, showing that the area is well connected to everyday destinations. This is broadly similar to Active Travel Zone (ATZ) assessments that have been required in London for the past few years.

Iceni have prepared many Accessibility & Connectivity Studies across the country to demonstrate how well-connected sites are, or can become, to existing communities and places of work. The Connectivity Studies are being submitted as standalone documents to clearly identify how local environments can be enhanced for pedestrians, wheelchair users, cyclists and thus satisfy ATE.

Interestingly, we have recently seen a revolution with regards to perception of traffic generated from new developments. By undertaking early engagement with key organisations, such as National Highways, we have been able to explain the vision of the site and detail how active travel measures have been embedded from the outset. This has resulted in significantly less capacity analysis required at local junctions and therefore much less work at the application stage.

Therefore, whilst it can be perceived as additional work being required up front, early negotiations with officers and effective messaging can lead to less traffic assessment work, ultimately saving on time and cost overall.

Given the Connectivity Studies will also help to assist in improving public health and reducing harmful emissions, we believe that the introduction of ATE is truly a step, wheel, or cycle, in the right direction!

Please get in touch with the team should you have any questions or wish discuss how the requirements of ATE could effect your scheme.

Ryan Broom Principal,Transport