20-year vision to push cycling and walking to the top of the travel hierarchy in Wales unveiled

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20-year vision to push cycling and walking to the top of the travel hierarchy in Wales unveiled

Returning to the old ‘normal’ of transport emissions and pre-pandemic levels of road traffic must be avoided if Wales is to tackle climate change head on, Welsh Government says

The vision is set out in the draft transport strategy document ‘Llwybr Newydd: A New Wales Transport Strategy’, published on Tuesday November 17. Cycling UK welcomes the document and was pleased to have worked with the Welsh government in its development.

It sets out a range of policies to create an ‘accessible, sustainable transport system’ over the next 20 years which Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport describes as "good for our communities, good for the environment and good for the economy".

Work on the report began before the outbreak of Coronavirus, but the final conclusions have been informed by the crisis, with the report acknowledging there was an opportunity to “consolidate what has been achieved through the change in people’s travel behaviour”.

The mini section of the report devoted to active travel states: “For people in Wales, we want walking and cycling to become the preferred way of getting around over shorter distances. By 2030 we want Wales to move from over-reliance on private car use, to an active travel nation, improving our health, environment and economy”.

It also highlights the need to adapt and respond to innovations, such as encouraging the uptake of active travel including e-bike and e-cargo bike schemes. The default speed limit in built-up areas is also proposed to be reduced from 30mph to 20mph to make walking and cycling feel safer.

Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK’s engagement officer for Wales said: “It is great to see that active travel is prioritized in this report and that walking and cycling are not an after-thought for transport policy this time, as has so often been the case before.

“The Welsh Government has been meeting with many stakeholders to ensure there were open and constructive discussions about what is needed. It is now all about delivery, we have much of the legislative framework in place but we need to see that translated into action on the ground which will make it possible to achieve that modal shift for short journeys from reliance on the car to walking and cycling.”

We need to see...action on the ground which will make it possible to achieve that modal shift for short journeys from the car to walking and cycling

Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK engagement officer in Wales

As well as the longer-term goals, the strategy also sets out five priorities for the next five years:

Priority 1: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by planning ahead for better physical and digital connectivity, more local services, more home and remote working and more active travel, so that fewer people need to use their cars on a daily basis.

Priority 2: grow public transport use in Wales by providing services that everyone can use, wants to use, and does use, based on:

Priority 3: safe, accessible, well-maintained and managed transport infrastructure…future-proofed to support sustainable transport choices, especially walking and cycling, public transport and electrification.  

Priority 4: making sustainable transport choices more attractive and affordable to more people and businesses, while respecting the fact that many people, including those in rural areas or disabled people, may not have options.

Priority 5: supporting innovations that help more people and businesses adopt more sustainable transport choices.

Gwenda said Cycling UK would be consulting with its members in the next few weeks, in order to make further representations on the plan, which is open for consultation until January 25 2021.

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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19