Welsh cyclists call for active travel funding to double
On Tuesday, Cycle on the Senedd in a peloton hundreds strong rolled up to the steps of the Senedd with one aim: to make the Welsh Government fulfil the promises made in the Active Travel Act.
Ever since the Active Travel (Wales) Act was introduced back in 2013, Wales has been placed on a pedestal for their landmark legislation that is meant to promote cycling and walking as the go to mode of transport for short journeys.
As part of the act, Wales has high quality design standards for new cycling infrastructure. However without proper levels of funding, or the plans in place to make sure the money is spent where it is most need, such standards cannot be used.
Coordinated by Cardiff Cycle City, the Cycle on the Senedd seeks to change that by making a clear call for a doubling of investment in cycling and walking to £20 per head. It’s not just cyclists and walkers calling for this, but also the Welsh Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee in a recent report.
Currently the Welsh Government is spending just £10 per head, half of the level in Scotland.
Not investing in active travel is just storing up problems for the future.
Chris Roberts, one of the organisers from Cycle on the Senedd
“There is evidence that every £1 invested in walking and cycling produces £14 in benefits,” says Chris Roberts, one of the organisers of the event. “Not investing in active travel is just storing up problems for the future.”
Cycle on the Senedd has the support of the British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, Friends of the Earth Cymru, Living Streets, Oxfam Cymru, Cycling UK, Sustrans Cymru, Welsh Cycling, WWF Cymru, and cycling organisations from across Wales.
On the day, the Senedd steps were packed with cyclists brandishing specially produced fake £20 notes to represent the amount needed per head to improve cycling in Wales.
Representatives of all four major parties addressed the crowd with Lee Waters AM (Labour), David Melding AM (Conservative), Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid Cymru) and Cllr Rodney Berman (Lib Dem) all backing the aims of the lobby as they highlighted the huge health and environmental benefits proper investment in active travel could mean for Wales.
Speaking after the event, Chris Roberts said: "We are delighted to have had the support of such a wide range of organisations; it demonstrates how this issue goes way beyond cycling. Active travel can help tackle some of Wales' greatest challenges such as climate change, air quality and obesity. We are determined to convince Welsh Government that if they are serious about the Active Travel Act, they really need to finance it properly.”