Sustrans responds to Ken Skates' announcement on walking and cycling.
Welsh Government approves 14 councils’ active travel plans, the rest rejected or ordered to re-submit
Findings of Welsh Government transport funding review yet to be announced
The Welsh Government has announced it has approved 14 council plans for walking and cycling. The plans, known as Integrated Network Maps, require local authorities to lay out a 15 year programme for improving walking and cycling facilities in their areas. Fourteen local authorities had their plans approved, with a further three (Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Torfaen) being passed subject to future improvement. Writing to Assembly Members, Skates stated that the three authorities had met “their minimum duties” but “could have done better”. He expressed disappointment at the “lack of ambition and level of detail” for Blaenau Gwent, Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham” and directed those authorities to resubmit revised plans by 27 August 2018.
The Active Travel Act (2013) places a legal duty on councils across Wales to map out walking and cycling routes in their communities and then start filling in the gaps by producing a plan for a joined-up network. The aim is that each local authority will have a network of safe, convenient and connected routes that will allow people to ditch their cars, and make shorter trips by foot and by bike instead.
Commenting on Ken Skates’ announcement, Steve Brooks, Director of Sustrans Cymru said:
“Today is a major milestone in efforts to boost the number of people who are making shorter journeys on foot or by bike.
“Sustrans led the campaign for an Active Travel Act, and Wales should be proud of this landmark legislation. Ken Skates raised concern that some local authorities are not being ambitious or involving the public enough. Whilst we would agree with him, it’s vital that Welsh Government recognises that councils will need additional support if they are to meet their obligations.
“From improving health, cutting congestion and improving air quality, we know walking and cycling provide a whole range of benefits. But for these benefits to be realised, Welsh Government needs to quicken its pace and increase investment”