John was born in Coldstream, Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders where the walking and cycling habit took hold. He joined Sustrans as Scotland Director in 2005, since when the operation has grown substantially, both operationally and in terms of the role it plays nationally. John became an Executive Director in 2016 and was made accountable for Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 2018.
Sustrans vision is a society where the way we travel creates healthier places and happier lives for everyone; its mission is making it easier for people to walk, cycle and wheel.
Sustrans is very much a practical and doing organisation. We work in many ways with many stakeholders, statutory, national and community. In Scotland, we help create good space for people by managing funds on behalf of Transport Scotland and distributing them through the Places for Everyone funding stream. In 2020 as a reaction to the Coronavirus, we established the Spaces for People fund, which supports statutory bodies to deliver temporary infrastructure to give people safe space in which to physically distance while walking, cycling and wheeling. Sustrans in Scotland also fund behaviour change programmes in schools, transport hubs and workplaces as does the team in Northern Ireland. Sustrans also continue to develop the National Cycle Network, in partnership with many bodies. In 2018 we launched a new plan to revitalise the network; called Paths for Everyone the review is accompanied by a delivery plan, which aims to make the network safe and accessible for all.
Finally, Sustrans aims to influence policy and practice by demonstrating what can be done to combat sedentary lifestyles, improve poor air quality, reduce congestion and transform public space by allowing people to choose to travel on foot and by bike. To that end John is a regular contributor to policy development, a frequent attendee at Holyrood committees and commentator in the media.