Figures released yesterday (12 July) by the Department for Transport show that rates of walking have increased in almost every local authority area in England for the second consecutive year.
But, the Campaign for Better Transport has said more investment is needed to keep up the momentum of growth.
Statistics show that the number of people walking once a week has gone up 3.3%, while the number of people walking three times a week has risen 7.1%, up to 6.9 % for those who walk five times a week.
The walking rate figures are based on results from the Active People Survey, an annual telephone survey by Sport England. The survey consists of 165,000 respondents aged 16-and-over in England.
The Department for Transport report also reveals that around 15% of adults cycle at least once a month, a similar figure to previous years.
Campaign for Better Transport has set up ‘LEP Watch’ to monitor spending on transport projects by Local Economic Partnerships, bodies set up to spend public money on economic development in their areas.
Bridget Fox, sustainable transport campaigner at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “It’s great news that people are walking more. Travelling on foot or by bike helps gets cars off the road, improves health and helps make greener and more prosperous places to live.
“The government needs to build on this momentum and pump more funding into its forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. Most funding for local transport schemes is still led by Local Enterprise Partnerships, who, as our LEP Watch research shows, typically allocate just £2 in every £100 on walking schemes and only £1 on cycling.â€?
The top ten principal local authorities in England, outside London, that have seen the largest increase in walking since 2012/2013 is led by Cheshire East, Leicester and Darlington – all of which have seen a rise of 13%.
Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Bracknell Forest and Warrington follow suit with a 12% rise, while Poole and Medway saw an 11% increase and Peterborough 10%.
Bridget Fox added: “Of the top 10 local authorities for increased walking, eight received funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund which was used to encourage more sustainable forms of transport in the area. These statistics show that investment in walking and cycling works and more is needed.â€?