Councillor Elizabeth Nash, Councillor Adam Ogilvie and workers from across Leeds joined forces to mark the launch of a new scheme designed to encourage more people to get on their feet and feel the benefits of walking.

Thirty people gathered for a walking tour of Leeds South Bank development – Europe’s largest brownfield regeneration site – as part of the CityConnect Walking initiative from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and national walking charity, Living Streets. The project aims to encourage 800 employees, apprentices, students or job seekers from across the county to incorporate walking into their daily lives by next March.

Walking and other sustainable transport options are at the heart of plans for the South Bank site, which is projected to create 35,000 new jobs. The regeneration site will have excellent links from Leeds railway station and the new Park and Ride bus stops on Boar Lane, making it easier for people to arrive at work by sustainable modes of travel.

Councillor Eric Firth, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Deputy Chair, said:

“I am pleased to see the CityConnect Walking scheme is back and that we are able to support and encourage people to access employment or training by foot.

“Our ambition is to improve air quality and reduce congestion in the city centre. By creating access to jobs with enjoyable and connected walking routes throughout the city, we hope more people will feel inspired to incorporate walking into their commute to work, whether that be walking from the Park and Ride bus stop or railway station or from their home.”

The CityConnect Walking tour highlighted the connectivity between business zones, public spaces and leisure areas in which walking will be the most convenient and pleasant mode of travel throughout the city centre. Representatives from Leeds City Council spoke about the exciting proposals for the regenerated area and highlighted to those taking part just how easy it will be to get around by foot.

The project, delivered by Living Streets, will work with businesses, job centres, apprentice hubs and Further Education establishments across West Yorkshire to promote and encourage walking as a healthy, sustainable and convenient way to access employment and education opportunities.

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy and Communications at Living Streets, said:

“We are very excited about delivering the CityConnect Walking project in Leeds and fully support the work to create appealing public spaces in the city where both residents and visitors want to spend time. Prioritising walking as a mode of transport, not only improves health but also improves local air quality, reduces congestion and has been shown to improve local economies.”

The scheme is already making progress and is inviting apprentice hubs, businesses and training providers to get involved.

A previous CityConnect Walking scheme ran from January 2014 to June 2015 while a similar go:walking project from CityConnect ran until March 2017.

For more information on how you can help your employees, students, apprentices or job seekers to choose healthier and more active modes of travel, please visit;

www.cyclecityconnect.co.uk/walking

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