A SOLD out event on the benefits of active travel - making journeys in physically active ways - was held at the Guildhall on Saturday. 

The Active Travel conference was put on by the Cycling Opportunities Group for Salisbury (COGS) to mark the group's 30 years of campaigning for safer cycling and active travel in and around Salisbury. 

Jimmy Walker, COGS member and one of the organisers of the event, told the Journal: "The conference is about getting people to realise that active travel is a major positive for a city like Salisbury. 

"We have a city that is constantly gridlocked. We have a city in which they tried to bring in People Friendly Streets a number of years ago, and for whatever reason it didn't survive the process. So what can we do instead?" 

Read more: People Friendly Salisbury low traffic zone to be halted indefinitely

(Jimmy says it was not given the appropriate amount of time it would have required for the scheme to have been a success). 

He added: "One way of looking at active travel is: Are there other ways we can get people to travel into the city?"

The majority of the journeys coming from the periphery of the city, says Jimmy, are only one or two miles. 

"So can people walk, cycle, get the bus, use their wheelchairs, use mobility chairs, but we need to provide the infrastructure for that, and that is what today is about. Today is about bringing 100 people into the city to see evidential research published on the benefits of active travel", he said. 

Among the speakers were Professor Ian Walker, professor of environmental psychology at the University of Surrey, and Rachel Aldred is Professor of Transport at the University of Westminster, and Director of the Active Travel Academy.

Jimmy said: "These are top names in the country on active travel. Professor Walker spoke about what effects active travel has on your brain, and Rachel giving evidence and published studies on the benefits of active travel. 

"I think people living in Salisbury lose sight of the fact that when the city is gridlocked, nobody is moving, and that's creating congestion and pollution. 

"When you start changing that model and you get more people coming by bus, more people walking and cycling, that means more money for businesses because people are wandering around in a much more relaxed environment."

This all leads to a better health outcome, says Jimmy, and people will live longer. 

The conference also heard from Caroline Thomas, the cabinet member for transport, street scene, and flooding at Wiltshire Council.

For more, go to sites.google.com/site/cogsbike/.