Britain’s most successful Paralympic athlete Dame Sarah Storey named Sheffield City Region active travel commissioner

Dame Sarah Storey has been announced as the new Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City RegionDame Sarah Storey has been announced as the new Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region
Dame Sarah Storey has been announced as the new Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region
One of Britain’s most successful Paralympic athletes has been named as South Yorkshire’s first ever active travel commissioner.

Multi gold medal and world championship-winning sportswoman Dame Sarah Storey will lead efforts to promote and incorporate walking and cycling into everyday transport.

Metro mayor Dan Jarvis welcomed the 41-year-old into the role at an official unveiling at Sheffield Hallam University.

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The new commissioner will work with Mayor Jarvis to support his vision, working to develop and deliver an ambitious ‘Active Travel Plan’.

Dame Sarah will also work with organisations such as local authorities, the Passenger Transport Executive, community groups and public health professionals along with national Government.

The move mirrors efforts in Greater Manchester, where mayor Andy Burnham named Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Boardman as the area's active travel commissioner in 2017.

Boardman produced a 15-step report to ‘transform Greater Manchester’ into one of the ‘best places in the world to walk and cycle’, with hopes to make active travel ‘easy, attractive and safe’.

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Dame Sarah, who lives in the Peak District, has won 14 Paralympic golds in both cycling and swimming, making her the nation's most successful athlete.

She said: "I'm proud and excited to be the first Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region. I believe active travel is a less stressful way of moving about, and helps to create the foundation of a happier workforce and a happier population.

"As someone who's passionate about active travel, and through my policy work with British Cycling, I've been so interested in what Chris Boardman is doing with Andy Burnham over the Pennines. It's brilliant to have the opportunity to work closely with Mayor Jarvis and his team to do something similar here.

"For me, this is about having another string to my bow, and utilising that profile of elite sport to benefit the wider population. Not everyone is going to be an elite athlete, but we can all enjoy being more active. I'm looking forward to seeing how, together, we can make real changes to the way people travel in the Sheffield City Region."

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Mayor Dan Jarvis said: "To have such an exceptional, inspirational and passionate individual leading our active travel agenda is very exciting.

"Sarah joins us at an exciting time and will play a crucial role in helping us to make sure that active travel remains an absolute priority as we make our region's transport network fit for the 21st century.

"By prioritising active travel, we can improve people’s health, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion. But you don’t have to be a professional cyclist - or indeed a gold medal winning cyclist - to travel in a more active way. By making little changes to the way that we travel, we can all do our part to create a healthier and more active society."