The UK government is to invest £3.2 billion and has created a new statutory consulting body to nudge and corral people into 15-minute cities. Active Travel England (“ATE”), as the new body is called, has recently been tasked with approving all large planning applications, about 60% of new homes. The “Expert Advisor” of the scheme is none other than Chief Covid Con Artist Chris Whitty.
Of course, they make it sound all fluffy and nice, “it’s for your own good” … and voluntary. But this is the start of corralling people into their dystopian 15-minute neighbourhoods and, by overseeing planning applications, forcing businesses to comply with it.
“Active Travel England is responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for everyone to get around. Our objective is for 50% of trips in England’s towns and cities to be walked, wheeled or cycled by 2030,” the website states.
“By 2030.” There is the red flag that this is being driven by the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. Once you see the agenda behind the bumph, you can safely assume the rest of the text is psychological mumbo jumbo and it is what is not being said that is important.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, is one of 4 that form the advisory panel called Active Travel England. The other three are West Midlands’ Mayor Andy Street, Chair of the Office of Rail and Road Declan Collier and engineering consulting firm Arup’s Global Transport Leader Isabel Dedring. The advisory panel will meet quarterly. The first meeting took place in late October 2022.
The Government has set aside £3.2 billion of investment in active travel and has so far embedded active travel into 1,000 major new developments.
Statutory consultees are organisations and bodies defined by statute that local planning authorities are legally required to consult before deciding on relevant planning applications.
As of 1 June 2023, ATE became “officially a statutory consultee on all planning applications for developments equal to or exceeding 150 housing units, 7,500 m2 of floorspace or an area of 5 hectares.” This will see ATE reviewing around 3,100 applications a year, equating to 60% of new homes. The establishment of ATE as a statutory consultee follows a pilot project which saw ATE work with 30 local authorities to assess more than 60 developments over the 9 months up until November 2022.
Active Travel England has been registered as a company.  It doesn’t show up on a search of Companies House’s website under that name so it’s not clear when the company was formed. Whitty is not a director of the company, instead, he is ATE’s “Expert Adviser,” written with the capital letters no less.
A quick review of ATE’s annual report and accounts for the year 2022/2023, from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, reveals some interesting details.
They plan to affect all modes of travel with their plans to coerce people into walking, wheeling and cycling. “We have made the first steps in developing our strategic relationships, starting to establish working arrangements with National Highways and laying the groundwork for future collaboration with Mayoral Combined Authorities and indeed all transport authorities in the country,” CEO Danny Williams said.
Williams has spent over 25 years leading media businesses. He was a member of the Mayor of London’s ‘Roads Task Force’. In his spare time, he has been advocating for change in how villages, towns and cities approach walking and cycling. In the “new normal,” it seems a hobby is a sufficient qualification to head a project that will remove the inalienable right to freedom of movement for 68 million people.
ATE is bribing councils to go along with their dystopian plans:
ATE’s primary financial activity is the provision of grants to local authorities and delivery partners. In 2022/23 ATE awarded £254m in grants.
We provide direct funding to local authorities to build active travel infrastructure, increase capability and deliver more opportunities for people to walk, wheel or cycle for local trips.
Active Travel England: Annual report and accounts 2022/2023
Just so that a conflict of interest doesn’t become just another “conspiracy theory,” ATE’s report tells us that one of the grantees, Isabelle Clement, is also one of ATE’s directors. It’s easier to award yourself a grant if you’re one of the five directors of the company giving the grants. The amount Clement has awarded herself hasn’t been disclosed  leaving room for speculation to abound so she can be gallantly defended by “fact-checkers” or BBC Verify even.
ATE has so far had very little engagement. Their publicity stunts over the last year have attracted only 400 people:
To introduce local authorities and developers to our new role, we delivered 10 local roadshows across all regions in England, which attracted over 400 attendees in total.
Active Travel England: Annual report and accounts 2022/2023
According to Local Government Information Unit (“LGIU”), there are 318 principal councils with roughly 17,000 councillors in England. And who knows how many “developers” there are.
As at the end of the last financial year, ATE had 34 members of permanent staff and has spent £1,685 million on salaries – just under an average of £50,000 for each employee, assuming all 34 had been employed for the full year. So far, ATE has only “onboarded” 54% of its total full-time employees so this would be only half of the salary expenditure that can be expected going forwards.
In addition, ATE has spent £50,000 on accommodation and £36,000 on travel and subsistence. Most frequently in financial statements, subsistence refers to staff expenses such as meals. So, we could guess that ATE’s 10 road shows – plus some other expenses presumably relating to meetings with each other and local councils and perhaps some benefits in kind such as “business lunches” – cost £86,000 … for 400 attendees. ATE sounds super-efficient and worth every penny.
During the last year, £350,124 was spent on consultancy and advice services. This was paid to one, just one, contractor who is not named. Outside consultants are hired for their skills because ATE does not have them in-house. In the “new normal” there may be a lot of skills ATE doesn’t have in-house so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if consultancy fees rise exponentially in the future.