Chris Boarman

Chris Boardman appointed as permanent Active Travel Commissioner 

Olympic gold medallist and cycling advocate Chris Boardman has been permanently appointed as the National Active Travel Commissioner for Active Travel England. 

Active Travel England is an executive agency, newly established by the UK Government to encourage and support walking and cycling across the country.

Boardman has served as interim commissioner since January 2022, but will now officially take up the role, as Active Travel England has also appointed other members to the head of the organisation.

Danny Williams will be CEO, while Louise Wilkinson will be chief operating officer. 

Confirming the appointments, cycling minister Trudy Harrison said: ”Today’s appointments are another great step for Active Travel England as it continues to make sure getting around our towns and cities on foot or by bike is an easy and attractive option.

“Chris, Danny, Louise and the rest of the incoming team are hugely respected experts in their field and are dedicated to making people-friendly streets a reality. I wish them every success and will do all I can to support them.” 

Boardman added: “I am thrilled to be announced as permanent National Active Travel Commissioner and to be given this incredible opportunity. To help change the travel culture of a nation is by far the most important thing I have ever, or will ever, be involved in.

“For cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, people must feel safe and the options must be easy.

“Active Travel England aims to help local authorities across the country deliver that environment, so that people can get to schools, shops and workplaces under their own steam. That’s the kind of place people want to live and the freedoms they want for their children.”

Williams, who will be confirmed as CEO shortly, has spent over 25 years leading media businesses, including setting-up a start-up and developing large and high performing teams within global corporations. He has also been an advocate for walking and cycling, and was a member of the Mayor of London’s Roads Task Force.

Williams said: “If you were to put down on paper my dream job, this is it. I’m passionate about building successful teams from the ground up and I have been an active travel advocate for the past 20 years. It’s a huge privilege to be able to combine those interests as CEO of Active Travel England.

“I want to support councils to be bold and create an environment that is going to change people’s everyday lives for the better. It doesn’t get more exciting than that.”

Louise Wilkinson has a long career in strategic finance and accounting within the civil service and local government. Most recently she has worked for the Cabinet Office as a deputy director of finance.

Wilkinson added: “I can’t wait to take on the role of COO at Active Travel England and be part of this exciting journey. This is something I really believe in and I am proud to be part of a team that will help transform active travel and deliver real change.

“I will be focusing on putting in place all the things we need to succeed and to ensure that councils and other delivery partners are supported every step of the way.”

Other appointments for Active Travel England include Graham Grant – currently assistant director of transport at Newcastle City Council – as director of planning and development, and Brian Deegan, who was announced as director of inspections in May 2022.

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Last month, the Department for Transport announced £200 million in funding for 134 new active travel schemes, with Active Travel England overseeing the delivery, as part of its mission to improve the quality of new infrastructure schemes across the country. 

Chris Boardman has been appointed with immediate effect. Danny Williams and Louise Wilkinson are expected to take up their posts in August.  

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