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Former professional mountain bike rider and co-founder of The Adventure Syndicate, Lee Craigie, has been appointed as the new Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland.
The Scottish Government committed to appoint an Active Nation Commissioner, through the 2017 Programme for Government, to help encourage an active nation, where more people can enjoy the benefits of accessible walking and cycling.
With the doubling of the active travel budget to £80 million, Lee’s role is to act as a national advocate for walking and cycling across the country, raising the profile of these inclusive and sustainable modes of travel while promoting their heath, environmental, social and economic benefits to everyone who lives, works in or visits Scotland.
The Active Nation Commissioner reports to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, but works independently of government to help progress the recommendations of Active Travel Task Force Report and ensure walking and cycling are accessible and inclusive for all.
Lee said: ‘A large part of my mountain bike racing career has been about taking risks. My present work with The Adventure Syndicate is all about encouraging and enabling young people, and particularly young women, to take their own risks – to step out of their comfort zone and do something different to make them feel healthier, happier and more in control of their lives. Adventure is everywhere. It doesn’t take much to help people realise that.
‘The ambitious vision of the Scottish Government is what attracted me to this role, but it’s clear to everyone in the active travel community that there is a need to take a few more risks in order to achieve greater outcomes, faster than ever, so that even more people can connect and engage with lifelong walking and cycling – benefiting both their personal health and health of the planet.
‘I feel excited and privileged to be the new Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland and I’m looking forward to building new relationships right across the country so that we can collectively push the current boundaries of thinking in how we travel.
‘I’m committed to promoting the idea that by placing our own health needs, the needs of our communities and our environment ahead of single-occupancy car journeys, we can all live more sustainable and fulfilled lives.’
Commenting on the appointment, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson added: ‘I’m delighted to have appointed Lee to the role and I am confident she will not only be an inspirational advocate for active travel, but also progress high impact policy development. Working with our Active Travel delivery partners and local authorities, Lee will help to promote new infrastructure to achieve the shift towards walking and cycling that this government is determined to achieve.
‘Walking and cycling as a form of transport can be incredibly beneficial to our individual health and help protect our environment – but it cannot be a solution that only some can benefit from. We are determined to ensure walking and cycling is accessible and inclusive for all.
‘Our funding of active travel projects aims to significantly improve our public realm, creating segregated cycle lanes in our towns and cities, support behaviour change projects and make walking and cycling the natural and easy choice for everyday short journeys. Lee Craigie will play a big part in this journey alongside our partners to help develop an Active Nation here in Scotland.’
For more information on the Scottish Government’s ambitions for active travel, visit www.transport.gov.scot/activenation