Cycling UK congratulates Welsh Government for £58m active travel boost
Cycling UK welcomes the announcement today (Thursday, 15 June) by the Welsh Government that it’s boosting active travel funding by more than £58m, helping fund new and improved routes for walking and cycling across Wales.
Speaking on Clean Air Day, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, has confirmed the substantial increase in investment into ways that help Welsh people choose walking and cycling over driving for shorter, local journeys.
In light of recent drastic cuts to the active travel budget in England, Cycling UK congratulates the Welsh Government for continuing its commitment to investing in healthier, greener ways to travel in Wales.
If we’re serious about addressing the climate emergency, active travel needs to be a fundamental part of that jigsaw puzzle to help Wales achieve its environmental and health targets
Gwenda Owen, campaigns lead for Wales at Cycling UK
Gwenda Owen, Cycling UK’s campaigns lead for Wales, said:
“While in England, the active travel budget is being cut to a level that makes achieving the Government’s own targets impossible, it’s reassuring to see Wales take a long-term approach and commit to an ambitious budget that will bring benefits across the nation.
“If we’re serious about addressing the climate emergency, active travel needs to be a fundamental part of that jigsaw puzzle to help Wales achieve its environmental and health targets.
“It’s just as relevant in rural towns and villages as it is in our cities, so seeing local authorities such as Monmouthshire recognise this shows that by working creatively we can make change happen – and it will allow people to connect with their communities and make our neighbourhoods better places to live.”
Since 2018, the Welsh Government has increased active travel funding from £15m to £70m. The investment now amounts to £22 for every person in Wales, compared with dedicated active travel spending in England at just £1 per head in the same period.
Monmouthshire Council, a rural authority in South Wales, is set to receive £8m of the new funding. Across Wales, the £58m will cover the construction of 37 new active travel routes and the development of a further 22 existing ones.
In addition, a portion of the new funding pot will be spent on 30 local authority Safe Routes in Communities schemes, which aim to improve safety for those opting to walk or cycle by reducing traffic speeds, improving pedestrian priority and widening footways.
All local authorities in Wales will also receive a minimum of £500k which they can use for future scheme developments and minor works such as cycle parking, new crossing points and promotional work.
In 2013, the Senedd passed the Active Travel (Wales) Act, which at the time was a world-leading piece of legislation. It set into law the requirement to plan and build networks of routes that enable people to make their everyday journeys safely by bike or by foot. It also requires the Welsh Government and local authorities to promote active travel and encourage the general public to travel in more sustainable ways.