Today Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman heard first-hand how improvements to Waltham Forest’s road network was helping to improve the health and well-being of our residents.
To mark the fifth anniversary of Waltham Forest Council winning the bid of £27million Mini-Holland funding from Transport for London in March 2014, industry leaders, delivery partners and residents gathered at Waltham Forest Town Hall to find out what the resulting programme, Enjoy Waltham Forest, had achieved.
Over the last five years the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme has delivered:
- 22km of segregated cycle lanes
- 40 modal filters to prevent local streets being used by motorists rat runs, as well as two part-time motor vehicle closures in local shopping parades
- Improved 100 junctions
- Planted more than 700 trees
- Installed almost 300 bikehangars
- Created seven station cycle hubs providing 477 secure parking spaces
- Built 15 pocket parks
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted to see how Waltham Forest has been transformed through Mini-Holland funding. The fact that more people are choosing to cycle and walk more often brings huge benefits, from increased life expectancy and better air quality, to encouraging people to shop locally.
“I’m really proud that our Liveable Neighbourhoods programme is giving all boroughs the opportunity to bid for funding to echo this success and achieve similar positive changes in their areas.”
Last year a report by King’s College London found that work to improve the borough’s road network is having a positive impact on air quality and extending the life expectancy of the borough’s children by six weeks, and that the additional physical activity residents were undertaking was also contributing to an expected increase in life expectancy.
A study of residents in the three Mini-Holland boroughs published in 2018 by Dr Rachel Aldred of Westminster University found that residents living in areas with ‘high dose’ Mini-Holland interventions were walking on average an extra 32 minutes and cycling an extra nine minutes a week compared to the outer London average.
Air quality monitoring has also found that in 2007, 58,000 households were exposed to more than the EU recommended amount of Nitrogen Dioxide, a decade later, this figure had reduced by almost 90 per cent to 6,300 households.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest Council and cabinet member for the environment added: “It is five years since Transport for London acknowledged that we had an ambitious vision and a team of officers, politicians and community champions with the desire and skills to make it a reality. We’re well on the road to achieving our vision, creating a place where everyone can feel safe on the roads whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist.
“The most rewarding outcome of our work has been realising that we’re not only improving the travel experience for our most vulnerable residents, but we’re making a long lasting impact on our residents’ health, improving our environment with better air quality and encouraging people to be more active and lead a healthier life.”
As well as the infrastructure improvements the council has been delivering a programme of complementary measures which has seen:
- More than 5,000 adults trained to ride a bike
- More than 7,500 schoolchildren trained to cycle
- Serviced over 12,000 resident’s bikes for free
- More than 50 schools join the TfL Sustainable Travel, Active, Responsible, Safe scheme
- Made over 450 loans of adult bikes and over 300 loans of cargo bikes to residents, businesses and community groups for free
At today’s event ten community groups also secured funding from the council’s first ever Community Walking and Cycling Fund. The £20,000 pot is expected to support local residents to work with local communities to deliver projects to encourage more active travel, build more community connections, as well as tackle social isolation.
One group benefiting from the fund is Go Further Cycling who are launching an electronic bike project in Chingford to support more people access cycling. Phil Hollins said: “We’re excited about this opportunity to pilot an e-bike initiative. Our scheme will help to attract people who are nervous about traffic and unsure about going up hills to gain confidence in riding with trained instructors and head off for an adventure in Epping Forest.
Waltham Forest Council is expecting to complete the bulk of the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme over the next 12 months but will continue to look at other opportunities, including Liveable Neighbourhood schemes, to extend the impact of the programme across the borough.